Hiya, Can anyone here tel me the average expected number of covers for a stallion at pasture breeding? A.I.? Hand breeding? My colt has finally come of age and it's been a while since I owned a Stallion. He has a list of waiting mares and I just want to know how many I should limit him to... I have no problem with pasture breeding so long as the mares are not in the paddock with him for more than 12 hours at a time(so really it's more like hand breeding).
We don't do pasture breeding, too dirty. We do live cover and studs cover as many as 150 to 200 mares. that of course is with an experienced stallion crew and management. rule of thumb for you though , it takes a stud about 2 hours to recover enough sperm to rebreed. And if you don't have a micoscope to check the dismount semen the best way to determine if the mare was covered or "cheated" is to let the stud hang around if he drops again, he cheated her. So breed again.
We limit our stallions to a maximum of three covers a day. On particulary hot days through summer, we will do two only. Particularly with the shuttle stallions. They don't seem to handle the heat. If you hand serve, you can check for ejaculation by placing your hand at the base of the penis. There will be pulses with ejaculation. Some stallions won't tolerate this, though and if not, Cathy's suggestion is the only way to go!
The number of times a stallion can breed in a day is completely stallion-dependent, and without performing a total-daily-sperm-output (TDSO) and a recovery evaluation it is impossible to give an accurate number. The TDSO evaluation is where a stallion is collected for 5 or 7 days in a row (depending upon testicular size - large testicles=7 days) and then on the next day the number of sperm in the ejaculate represents the number of sperm a stallion produces each day. The recovery evaluation is where a stallion is collected twice an hour apart and the second ejaculate will indicate how long he needs to have to recover sperm numbers in order to be able to succesfully breed a mare and get her pregnant.
These numbers will vary from stallion to stallion, so trying to work with an "average" can lead you into difficulties, or you may be fine, but you really don't want to find you're in trouble with a bunch of open mares...
Two other points in reference to the above posts:
A dismount sample is not necessarily a reliable indicator of ejaculation, as if you capture only gel-fraction of the ejaculate, there will quite probably be no sperm in it, and you will be led to believe he has not ejaculated. I discussed this in the thread on the board here. One can never use a dismount sample to establish sperm concentration accurately.
Feeling for urethral pulses is more reliable, but there are some conditions that will result in ejaculation (and pulsation) of seminal plasma and not sperm, so one can be misled using that technique too.
Bottom line? For accuracy, collect and evaluate under the microscope!
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