Insemination in pigs is really relatively straightforward and offers so many benefits that you simply cannot get from natural breeding. Artificial insemination in pigs at home is an excellent way to bolster genetics in your herd and to reduce costs. Three important aspects should be considered.
Firstly, only semen from healthy boars should be used, as diseased boars may ejaculate semen that is contaminated with pathogens. The semen from commercial AI centres is shipped to a large number of sow farms. As such, contaminated semen could lead to the rapid dissemination of pathogens and to outbreaks of disease in many sow herds. To guard against the spread of disease, strict regulations are followed in porcine AI-centers.
Additionally, the fertilizing capacity of the semen was examined as well. Fertility is highly correlated to the quality of spermatogenesis.
The third important aspect of AI centers is the semen processing method. We consider this a single step leading to obtaining viable sperm in ready-to-use sperm doses which can be used for several days after their manufacture. The procedure of diluting the sperm, handling it, the extender’s properties, and the microenvironment for sperm cells all affect the lifespan and effectiveness of the progeny.
Requirements For Artificial Insemination in Pigs
If you intend to conduct this experiment, you will need to ensure the following items are on hand: Some artificial insemination rods, lubricant (NOT spermicidal lubricant), damp paper towels, and your semen. Most semen companies have basic supplies such as rods and lubricants and will have the opportunity to send you some with your order. They are very reasonably priced, at $5-20 for roads and lubricants. Make sure your pig is in breeding heat and ready for AI.
Ensure That The Sow is Ready.
The back pressure test is a method of testing your pig’s readiness for insemination. The back pressure test is a simple procedure in which you apply pressure to her back like you would do in a boar, and she supports your weight. Some sows may even arch their back slightly and pushed back against you. If a sow is not in standing heat, she will move away from the pressurizing pressure. Many sows who are in standing heat will allow you to sit on their back. Once your sow is demonstrating that she is in standing heat, you may perform some AI.
Timing the AI
At least two times of an AI cycle are recommended, maybe even three times. You will AI in 12-24 hour intervals. So for a two-time AI, it might be best to do an 18-24 hour interval. You might say at 3 p.m. the first time. If you AI three times in 12 hours, then the initial AI could be at 9 a.m., followed by an AI around 9 p.m. On the same day, later at 9 a.m., you will conduct the artificial insemination, however, the timing depends on when your sow or gilt is ready. If you must handle this procedure yourself, take all of your supplies with you to your sow or gilt.
Process and Procedures of Artificial Insemination in Pigs
There is a video below the steps that shows how Artificial Insemination of pigs is carried out. This will aid better understanding.
1. To begin, you will use the paper towels dampened with water to clean around the vulva. Do not use soap, only water. Soap may kill sperm cells.
2. Remove any dirt or debris that could possibly enter her reproductive tract. Once you remove the materials, you’re ready to move forward. Put a generous amount of lubricant on the AI rod. This will help the rod enter into the tract properly.
3. A pig’s vaginal tract is very close to the urethra, which is located at the bottom of her vaginal tract. To avoid the urethra, you should insert your AI rod at an upward angle.
4. Once the rod is in place, you should gently push the rod until the cervix is reached. If you are using a foam-tipped rod, you should gently push the rod into the cervix. The rod has entered properly when it feels slight resistance when gently pulling back.
5. You will need to rotate the spiral rod counter-clockwise to lock it into the cervix. Gently pull back the rod to see if there is a slight resistance. Once the rod is secured, you can attach the semen bag to the end of the rod.
6. It is necessary to cut off the tip of the semen bag for it to enter the rod. The corkscrew or foam-tipped end of the rod has a hole in it after which sperm is then discharged into the right side of the cervix.
7. When the rod has been positioned, clip off the end of the sperm bag and place it on the rod. The sperm bag is a light purple bag that appears white or transparent in the photo due to the sun hitting it.
8. Your sow or gilt will contract her reproductive tract if she is in heat, pulling sperm into her body.
9. Once the bag is empty, you can remove it, leaving only the rod in place. You want to give the sperm in the rod time to expel from the rod and enter into her.
10. As the tube of the rod is clear, you will be able to see whether there is fluid or air inside it. Once you cannot see any sperm in the end, wait another few minutes to be sure that the whole rod is empty.
11. Do not force her to pull in the semen. You can give her bag a little push to get it moving, but you should not force it. Her body should pull it in without much help.
12. Once the cervix is reached, you can gently remove the corkscrew rod, either with a foam-tipped rod or a corkscrew rod. Once you have pushed it out of the cervix, you can gently remove it.