I have a 28 month old stallion that is low volume/low count. He seems to have everything else going his way, breeds easily and readily and has only been asked to cover on average one mare every other day (sometimes two). We only bred 8 mares this season and so far none confirmed in foal. We have declared this season a wash, but my question is what is the likelyhood of "normal" numbers for next season? My fear is that this horse will always be a problem or subfertile. What are the chances that he is going to grow out of this?
Posted on Tuesday, May 28, 2002 - 04:30 pm:
In all honesty, a 28 month old colt is not a stallion. He's still a baby. Give him a couple of years to grow up. Just because he looks mature doesn't mean he's ready to breed. It's like asking a 13 or 14 year old boy to be ready to reproduce.
If you wait until he's 4 or 5 you'll have a much better idea of whether or not he's really infertile. Also, if he's had any steroidal type drugs at all, it will seriously compromise his fertility.
I would just let him grow up.
Posted on Tuesday, May 28, 2002 - 07:49 pm:
I guess I should have mentioned that this is a competitive APHA Halter horse and is very physically mature and in very good condition. He has been on a managed program since birth and has not been exposed to any "performance enhancing" drugs. It is reasonable and expected that a two year old breed a few "test" mares, and that was not my question. I realize that infertility in the two year old is not uncommon, but usually has some other contributing factor (drugs, late colt, etc.) I would like to hear from folks that have experienced sub-fertility in thier two year olds and what they saw as far as improvement (or not) in their three year olds. Unfortunately, if you are running a business and trying to be competitive in todays market, waiting until a horse is five years old before you realize his potential is not practical.
ELizabeth Hardy (220.127.116.11)
Posted on Wednesday, May 29, 2002 - 10:38 am:
I agree waiting til he is 5yrs old to start breeding is too long. But you can not expect a young stallion to perform like an older one. You have to start slowly and with one maybe two mares for the first year. And even then he may not successfully get them pregnant.
There can be a big difference between a stallions sperm count and motility between ages 2 and 3. I would not call a 2yr old stallion subfertile unless a vet has documented this, more likely he is just immature. As a three yr. old He should improve.
So what I am saying that a very young stallion may not be able to breed and get pregnant more than one or two mares .
I would have his sperm checked prior to breeding him next year. I am betting he will improve next year.
Also if your using AI make sure his sperm is compatable with the extender.
Of note I have a friend who is starting a young stallion he is 2yrs old this year and he will only be bred to one mare.
Posted on Wednesday, May 29, 2002 - 11:43 pm:
This is my vets opinion. A 28 month old stallion should not have problems settling up to 15 mares if hand bred. So, my book of nine should not have maxed him out. He wants to collect this horse in 3 months and if volume/count are not up to normal standards his opinion is that we may be looking at a long term problem. Also, I have stood 3 two year olds prior to this one who had no problems settling a limited book. This is why I'd like to poll a few other souls out there that have had a similar experience and hear how their situations panned out. This colt's ejaculate is normal, all except for volume and count, a stain showed normal morphology and motility was good as well. Trust me, my fingers are double crossed hoping that he is just a late bloomer and will kick into gear for next season, but having all of my broodmares open this year is going to be enough of a financial strain-I really don't want to do it again next year! And yes, I know, I shouldn't have put all my eggs in one basket....
Posted on Thursday, May 30, 2002 - 12:17 am:
I would not be too concerned at this stage about low total sperm numbers (remember that concentration and volume are not overly significant in themselves in this regard, but must be multiplied together to give total ejaculated sperm numbers). Total sperm in the region of 1.5 to 2 billion per ejaculate are not at all unusual in a two year-old. He may improve significantly this year, or it may be another year yet. There is a correlation to endogenous testosterone output and sperm production, but remember that it takes 57 days to "manufacture" a sperm, so any increase will not be immediately apparent as a result of increased testosterone because of his being bred.
General note: Do not give testosterone in the hopes of increasing sperm production, it will have a counter-effect and total sperm numbers will decrease as a result of reduced sperm production, as endogenous testosterone levels will drop to levels lower than that which were present before exogenous testosterone was given.
With morphology and motility OK at this stage, I would not be hitting the panic button yet. Just apply a little "tincture of time"!
I agree with Jos...give the colt another year to mature. Just because he is physically mature does NOT mean he is reproductively mature yet. I have had instances as a veterinarian where a colt was subfertile as a youngster, and increased fertility as he matured. And saying he could settle 15 mares as a 2 year old may be true, but that is WAY too many mares for that baby. IMO. A colt (not stallion) that young is not mentally ready to cover that many mares.
My friend had a young stallion who as a 2 year old bred one mare, then they waited til he was 4 (I believe) and he was bred to quite a few mares, settled none of them. So, they had his semen checked, there were NO viable sperm. She consulted several top professionals, and they cautioned her that he might be sterile and to consider gelding him. Then she finally spoke to another doctor and he told her that the stallion might be 'plugged up' and to breed him several times a day for several days, in other words, to breed the heck out of him. They did, and his semen counts shot through the roof and they haven't had another problem with him getting mares bred. Although they did mention that there is a possibility it could happen to him again, but at least now they know what they are dealing with....Just one situation, may not apply to yours...Thought it was worth mentioning though, very interesting...
sbf Posted From: 18.104.22.168
Posted on Friday, May 30, 2003 - 09:13 am:
i know what your going though as a breeder i hve a two year old also and have bred three mares wont know till later this month. i did look at the sperm on the microscope and all looked good how ever his volume was different every time i collected him . i am doing AI. it would be 15ml than 50 back to 15. we coleccted him every day for a week. so as i said i know the frustration. i hope it works for you.
my two year old stud colt has only one testicle down. HE is a miniature horse. i want him to breed a miniature donkey for a hinny. Will he have problems breeding?? can he still breed with only one testicle. anyone with this sort of breeding leave a measage. please
My 2 year old covered 3 old mares this year - 2 x 17yrs old & 1 x 18 yr old. All three got in foal first time. I guess it's a little bit the luck of the draw whether a 2 year old has enough lead in his pencil or not. I seem to have been lucky. Try next year, perhaps he just needs to muster up a bit more steam
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