Semen Collection

You can initiate production cycles as soon as laboratory analysis confirms that the quality of the semen is high enough.

Strict routines and proper hygiene are of the utmost importance for the successful collection of semen. Every collection takes 8-10 minutes, but bear in mind that every boar is different, so it is to be expected that some boars will take longer than others.

Proper preparation for semen collection

Make sure that you have met all the conditions and precautions from “training the boars” before you take the following steps:

Collection area

1. The height of the dummy should be adjusted (if possible) to match the size of the boar.

2. Make sure the pen floor is not slippery so the boar has the best chance of mounting the dummy.

Dry pens and use bedding e.g. sawdust will ensure a non-slip surface in the pens and reduce the risk of injuries to the boar

3. Fit the dummy with a safety bar to prevent the boar from sliding off either side of the dummy and reduce the risk of the collector getting injured.

Equipment

1. Use only the appropriate professional materials for collecting semen.

2. Keep disposable gloves in stock – use vinyl gloves and avoid powdered gloves.

Disposable gloves should always be available, but make sure to check the box for the text “powder free”

Gloves should be stored in the laboratory to avoid dust and other contaminants- it can be beneficial to store them in a cabinet on the wall with easy access

Wear two sets of gloves during collection and have extra gloves ready in case hygiene is compromised.

Wearing double sets of gloves will ensure proper hygiene at all times

Make sure to dispose of contaminated gloves immediately
Facts
An average ejaculation contains 200-400 ml of semen, with an average of 60-80 billion (109) semen cells.

3. Use an insulated plastic container to make sure temperature is under control during collection.

4. Line the insulated plastic container with an airtight plastic bag.

Filling the plastic bag with air and squeezing it tight before inserting it will confirm that the bag is good to go

When fitting the plastic bag, make sure to roll it over the edge of the container, in order to minimize risk of contamination during collection

Place a double layer of gauze over the plastic bag and fix it to the rim of the container with a rubber band. The gauze will ensure that the gelatinous, post-sperm ejaculate does not mix with the semen you collected.

Fitting the gauze on the container with a rubber band will ensure that the gauze stays in place during collection and minimize the risk of contamination during collection

5. Make sure the gauze covering the plastic container is slightly hollow to make room for the semen. The gauze can be hollowed out with a gloved hand, but never touch the gauze unless strictly necessary to keep the risk of contamination to a minimum.

If you are hollowing out the gauze, make sure to wear a fresh pair of gloves to minimize contamination

When the gauze has been hollowed out, it should have clear space for the semen to flow through

6. Aside from the essential equipment for collecting the semen, you will also need a thermometer, notepad, wipes for cleaning and a trash bag for disposing of used gloves and so on.

7. In order to make all routines efficient and easy, it is a good idea to create a “tool box” to help you move containers and other equipment around in the collecting area with ease.

The collection of semen

When all the above preparations have been made, collection can begin. Make sure all equipment is ready for use before you turn your attention to the boar. For a successful collection, always stay composed and calm around the boar.

Remember, semen should be kept clean and free from contamination at all times. If it does become contaminated, dispose of it immediately.

Step 1: Place the dummy along the side of the pen. We recommend collecting the semen in the boar’s own pen, so you must be able to move the dummy around. Make sure the boar has enough room to mount the dummy and that afterwards, the boar can only back away from the dummy. The dummy should be placed close to the pen door, and be easy to remove from the pen without entering the boar pen. A properly trained boar will mount the dummy as soon as it is introduced to the pen.

 

Step 2: Empty the foreskin, the first output must be disposed of to make sure that the collected semen is clean. When emptying the foreskin, help the boar by grabbing and stroking the outside of the penis.

When the foreskin has been emptied, remove the first pair of gloves, since these have now been contaminated.

 

Step 3: Now you can begin collecting semen in the prepared plastic containers. Wear the clean glove for collecting.

1. Grab the penis with the dominant hand, and the prepared plastic container in the other.

2. When the boar goes “tense” wait 5-8 seconds, before placing the plastic container underneath the penis.

This ensures that only high-quality semen is collected after the initial passing of urine and pre-sperm ejaculate.

A collection of urine from the emptying of the foreskin

A collection of pre-sperm, which is thinner than the actual semen

3. When the actual collection begins, make sure that the penis is held at a height that prevents any urine secretion from contaminating the semen.

Penis placed in the dominant hand and held at a proper height, placing the container to the side and above the penis exit

Placement should be accurate, and holding the penis in an s-shape will help you achieve the right position

4. Keep a firm grip on the penis until the boar is finished, but open the last fingers up a little bit, to allow a free flow of semen.

This entire process usually takes 8-10 minutes, and ends up with a gelatinous sperm fraction.

5. The boar is finished when he retracts the penis and becomes more aware of his surroundings. Allow the boar to relax after collection, and make sure that he can dismount the dummy on his own.

6. When the boar has finished, remove the dummy along with all other equipment.

7. After collection, reward the boar with a treat.

Make a collection plan for the boars to ensure mounting intervals, sperm count and semen quality are all optimal.

The number of collections per week should be based on the age of the boars.

Age of the boar Collections per week
8-9 months 1-2
12 months 1-2
≥12 months 1-3

Example of collections Hatting KS (Danish DanBred A.I station)1:

Boars Av. Age at collection, Months Sperm count per collection, Billions (109) Collection Frequency, #/week
DanBred Duroc 13.0 80.8 1.11
DanBred Landrace 10.5 82.8 0.93
DanBred Yorkshire 10.5 77.9 0.94

1 Numbers are based on 140,000 collections at Hatting KS during 2017

Bear in mind that the semen of boars not included in the collection plan should still be collected for maintenance.

Wrapping up a successful collection day

When the collection has ended, it is time to make sure that the hygiene levels are ready for the next collection day.

1. Clean the dummy to maintain proper hygiene. The dummy must be washed with a high-pressure hose after a day of collection – and remember to clean underneath the dummy.

2. Check the dummy for maintenance to make sure that it is intact and safe to use. To make sure the dummy is always be fully functional, carry out maintenance on a regular basis.

During maintenance of the dummy it is important to go through all parts, for example checking the chain that secures the dummy to the pen

Lubrication of wheels and also checking the wheels for damages and looseness is important to ensure safety

3. If the cover on the dummy is replaceable, make sure you change it when necessary – or at least every 6 months.

The cover on the dummy is important to maintain, as rips and tears will cause the boars to inflict more damage and it will also to prolong the lifetime of the dummy

The cover can easily be changed on light weight dummies, as the cover is only stripped on the pillow below it

4. Clean all of your equipment without exception after use.

5. Make sure that all equipment is removed from the collecting area to minimise the risk of bacteria and dust gathering. If possible, take the equipment to the lab.

My notes for Collection

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