Just curious, as I am involved in a debate with breeding friends at the moment over how many times to serve mares. I personally prefer to follicle test, and serve once. Others don't follicle test, and serve once daily for at least two days, then a day off then once more if the mare accepts. Alternatively, one breeder serves TWICE daily for three days (poor mare!!!) It all seems a bit of overkill to me, but then you don't always have clients who want to pay extra $$ for follicle testing etc.
The standard unless there is a known fertility issue is to not breed until the third day of standing estrus ("heat") and then every other day until the mare will not stand for the stallion any longer.
Sperm survive for 48-72 hours (stallion variable), so breeding every other day is sufficient. Breeding every day or more often will result in depletion of gonadal reserves and potentially increase inflammatory response in the mare to unacceptable levels - especially in older mares or mares with delayed uterine clearance issues.
Most mares ovulate in the last 24-48 hours of standing estrus, so breeding prior to day 3 of estrus is again overkill.
There are of course exceptions, but following the above outline - as I say with a stallion of known fertility - will result in a high precentage of pregnancies - higher than if you breed every day or more often!
Posted on Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - 08:09 am:
I guess it depends on the stallion's workload. We have two standing at the moment. One is fully booked and covers 2 mares a day, sometimes three, so each mare gets one cover. The other boy isn't so busy and covers his every second day, unless she has clearance issues.
Posted on Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - 09:46 am:
We have been very successful in covering a mare every other day after the third day. When we have to we will use the stallion twice in one day. Once early in the am and then try to space it about 10-12 hours apart, giving the stallion a chance to rest, still covering the mare on the every other day basis. I believe what Jos is stating -correct me if I am wrong , is that you have a better success rate on the mare by not over breeding her as you can cause inflamation for the mare if breeding twice in a day and continueing to do so as well as the life of the sperm permits the every other day breeding, thus not over using your stallion on ONE mare, providing coverage for MORE mares . The stallion can normally handle a breeding twice a day --under most situations and still have quality production, although once a day is ideal. If I have a fully booked stallion we will not breed a mare every day (enless the situation provides for a reason), the life of the sperm permiits for the every other day breeding and allows for MORE mares to be covered in the SAME AMOUNT OF DAYS.
Posted on Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - 10:00 am:
[Kim posted her reply while I was concocting my own! She has more succinctly said what I ramble on about below... ]
Remember my comments were referencing breeding a single mare - if one is breeding more than one mare at a time then of course more than one covering per day may be required of the stallion. There would still be no need to deviate from the above plan for each mare though unless there were fertility issues with the stallion.
Even though dealing with a forced live cover situation (e.g. TB's), it is useful to collect and evaluate the stallion's ejaculate at the beginning of the season for recovery time. This is achieved by collecting the stallion twice at different intervals. The second ejaculate, if collected one hour after the first, should contain about half the number of sperm of the first ejaculate, with slightly increased motility. If it is found that this is not the case, and the second ejaculate is of a lesser quality than anticipated, then more than one hour may be required between breedings (so one would experiment to see what interval is required). One can also take this a step further and collect more than twice during the day to see if the gonadal reserves "hold up" on multiple breedings.
Remember that the average ejaculate contains enough sperm to provide between 5 and 15 insemination doses, so the average stallion should have no problem breeding multiple mares a day with successful pregnancy outcome (assuming adequate interval between breedings). The number of sperm needed to achieve a pregnancy is 500 million progressively motile, but one does not see a distinct reduction in pregnancy rates until fewer than 100 million PM sperm are inseminated.
Live cover and AI are - contrary to what many live cover afficiandos will tell you - essentially the same thing when it comes to where the sperm are deposited! A stallion's penis penetrates into, and not infrequently through, the cervix at the time of ejaculation - which means that he is ejaculating directly into exactly the same place that a pipette is placed, the uterus! Consequently we can safely extrapolate the numbers of sperm required to establish a pregnancy with AI to live cover as well.
Posted on Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - 10:45 pm:
Great information! thanks!
The mare that just went home was served on day three, five and because the tart was still receptive, day seven. I imported him three months ago, so he is still new to me, and only just developing a reputation here. His semen was evaluated on his first ejaculate at pre-purchase and motility was 70% - this was pre-stud season, and no covers since 04 season. His semen sent interstate had a great rating. Jos I am interested as to what in your opinion is "forced" live cover. As in hand serving? I would love to do predominantly AI ... Try telling people here that tho! His last mare was a pure TB and BOY was she a tart ... Give it to me baby *lol*.
Very interesting article, Jos. I was just discussing this with my boss today. We have had a couple of shuttle stallions over the last few years, and our newest boy will shuttle to America this year, so we are aware of the problems dealing with valuable stallions.
One issue that worries us with shuttle horses is the possible spread of disease. We are lucky in Australia. But with stallions coming from all over the world, I feel it's only a matter of time until we are facing many of the devestating diseases that other countries face.
Another issue we have is distance from the top stallions. I am in Western Australia. The majority of shuttle horses and even the better colonial breds stand in the Eastern States, almost a week by road, and planes are hard to get out our way. So we face the added risks of travel sickness and huge expenses above the service fees, if we choose to use those horses. And in recent years we have seen a surge the occurence of EHV related abortions. (None on our farm, but some close by)
We do live cover in pasture every other day with our mares as well as outside mares. So far we have 100% conseption rate.If the stallions sperm is viable for 48 hrs then there is no need to wear out the mare or the stallion and you stand less chance of having sexual organ problems as well
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