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The handling of your semen inventory plays a critical role in its ability to impregnate your AI candidate. Most importantly you want to be sure that you handle it properly each and every time you open the lid to your nitrogen tank. When searching for a desired cane in your tank, the full cane should be kept well below the frost line in its neck. Search for the treasure with a flashlight, not with natural light. The desired straw of semen should be removed from its goblet, and the cane lowered to well below the frost line in under three seconds. This strict time restraint is necessary to be confident that the viability of the other straws on the cane have not been compromised. Once removed from the goblet, the straw should be shaken slightly to remove any liquid nitrogen that might be clinging to its interior or exterior surfaces. It is also advised to hold the straw in your hand for a few seconds before introducing it to the thaw unit. (If this is not done, you risk the straw exploding when the nitrogen residue is submerged in the warm water.) You can then transfer the selected straw to a 95F/35C thaw unit. Do this quickly in order to protect your semen's viability. It should remain in the thaw unit for at least 30 seconds before being removed for use. Do not allow your water bath to drop below 92F/33C or go above 98F/37C. If you let your water bath get too cool, you are compromising sperm recovery. If you let it get too hot, you may "cook" the semen, also reducing the number of live cells available for work per insemination.

After properly thawing the semen, you have a maximum of 15 minutes to deposit the semen in your doe's reproductive tract for an optimal conception rate. The longer the semen remains in the straw, the greater the loss of viability.

Artificial insemination is a powerful tool that can allow you, as a breeder, the flexibility to increase the rate of genetic improvement in your herd. Although AI is a great tool, it requires proper technique and attention to detail for a high level of success. With good heat detection, records and proper semen handling, quality semen will provide you the ability to be a consistently successful AI Technician.


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