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Offline Clark Club Calves

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Semen thawing techniques
« on: April 23, 2010, 01:33:26 AM »
I was wondering what other people's protocols for thawing semen is?  What gives you the best conception rates?
 The reason I ask this is my Dad does all the A I work around the farm because I work and live off the farm.   He started out as an A I tech in the early 70s and has bred  more cows than I will ever see.   He does not water thawing semen he just uses body thaw and it is a short thaw maybe from tank to cow 3 to 10 minutes depends on how still the cow stands.   He uses the body thaw because we do a lot of pasture breeding and it is quick and easy.  When I question him on his technique he always says that temperature fluctuation is the number one thing that kills semen after thawing so keeping the semen thawing slowly should work and let it thaw in the cow.  Some years he has great conception rates and other years not so great.  I don't know if it is the luck of the draw but it always seems to be my cows that don't catch.  I always bug him that he just shoots it on the ground.  ;D
I have taken a week long course on A I so I learned how to water thaw and they had all the gadgets.  But is was easy to thaw and breed cows in a nice barn with the cows all lined up it is a little different when your out in the pasture and usually in a hurry.
What is the consensus on SteerPlanet what is the best way to thaw? 
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Offline Cattledog

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Re: Semen thawing techniques
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2010, 08:07:18 AM »
I only thaw out semen in the water thermos.  Many Universities have done studies on what is the best way to thaw semen and it is with a water bath.  My uncle thaws semen in the cow and i usually am 20% better than him at conception.  I figure one of these days he'll listen to me and change up.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2010, 08:32:08 AM by Cattledog »
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Offline hamburgman

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Re: Semen thawing techniques
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2010, 08:25:14 AM »
agree with cattle dog, I was told the quicker you unthaw the better, because ice crystals will cut tails off of sperm

Offline BadgerFan

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Re: Semen thawing techniques
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2010, 09:12:21 AM »
I use the industry wide recommendation: Water bath thaw in 90-95 degree water for 45-60+ seconds.  Then get it in the cow as quickly as possible.   Keep the gun protected in the front of your shirt to keep it from getting cold shocked. 

Some Genex semen can be "pocket thawed" because it's put up with a milk based extender, as opposed to an egg yolk extender.  This allows for a slower thaw in the air temp.

Unless your dad is using semen in milk based extender, he could do better using a water bath thaw.  I'm not saying he's wrong, but it would likely be more consistent.  The comment about quicker is better is not exactly accurate either, you can cook the sperm cells if the water's too hot.  Dead cells make few pregnancies.

Offline Cattledog

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Re: Semen thawing techniques
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2010, 09:24:24 AM »
My problem with letting the cow thaw out the semen is that you have to prepare the straw to be used before putting you french gun in the cow.  While you are preparing the straw it is thawing...at a slower rate. 

The way I see it, when you go from semen tank to water bath you are speeding up the thawing process.
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Offline aj

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Re: Semen thawing techniques
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2010, 09:28:09 AM »
I just got my ai stuff out. Looks like the ABS thaw machine has a green and a red light. Don't they have little check therm's to read water temp or something. Its been 4 years since I ai'd.
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Offline Cattledog

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Re: Semen thawing techniques
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2010, 09:29:19 AM »
I just got my ai stuff out. Looks like the ABS thaw machine has a green and a red light. Don't they have little check therm's to read water temp or something. Its been 4 years since I ai'd.
You bet.  That's how my thermos is anyway.
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Offline CAB

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Re: Semen thawing techniques
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2010, 09:33:23 AM »
 All kinds of data available to support using a warm water bath thaw for optimum results. ABS recommends 95 to 98 degree F water temperature for 30 seconds minimum. I like to thaw @ 93 degrees F and get it into the cow asap after loaded. I want the semen to keep climbing up in temp. The heating up and cooling down has a bad effect on sperm. JMO

ABS does have kind of a thermo strip that turns colors as the water changes temp.

Offline Cattledog

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Re: Semen thawing techniques
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2010, 09:38:42 AM »
  I like to thaw @ 93 degrees F and get it into the cow asap after loaded. I want the semen to keep climbing up in temp.

I never thought about it like that. 
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Offline Possum Trot Ranch

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Re: Semen thawing techniques
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2010, 10:19:00 AM »
I thaw at 95 degree F in a water bath. I have one of those automatic warmes but most of my AI work is done from the barn.  Sometimes I carry water with me to bred other folks cows.  There are so many factors that affect conception rates it would be hard to pin success or failure on just one thing. 

Offline AAOK

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Re: Semen thawing techniques
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2010, 10:56:18 AM »

I started out using warm water thaw because that's how I was trained.  After 3-4 years, a friend who makes a living as an AI technician convinved me to try thawing in the cow.  At the same time, I stopped all syncronization and went to natural, visual heat detection.  My conception rate increased from aroud 60% to near 90%.  Probably most of the increase was due to catching the cows standing naturally!

Offline Freddy

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Re: Semen thawing techniques
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2010, 11:22:29 AM »
There are adjustments on those thaw jugs and I try to check mine with those temperature strips every so often to keep it accurate , and especially when I start AI'ing each year..  Sun and florescent like are also very deadly to your semen ....

Offline Longway Ranch - SK, Canada

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Re: Semen thawing techniques
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2010, 11:52:03 AM »

I started out using warm water thaw because that's how I was trained.  After 3-4 years, a friend who makes a living as an AI technician convinved me to try thawing in the cow.  At the same time, I stopped all syncronization and went to natural, visual heat detection.  My conception rate increased from aroud 60% to near 90%.  Probably most of the increase was due to catching the cows standing naturally!

I do AI for a partial living as well.  I should have a definite answer by now, but I don't.  I use a warm H2O bath as of now, however, I don't see the difference between tossing the straw into a 96 or 98 degree water, and then tossing it into a cow of similar temperature, versus just grabbing the straw from the nitrogen, putting it into the gun and then the cow asap. ??
It is probably that variance of temperature when you are monkeying around loading the gun and whatnot, but right now here is is about 40 degrees in the morning, and maybe 60 in the evening when I go breeding cows.  Then I put the gun up against my tummy in my sweater to keep it consistently warm, then, into the cow.  There is no real drop in temperature at any point that would/should harm the semen....besides gun loading.  I have always wanted to try straight from the tank, to the cow, but just haven't.
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Offline SHAGGY

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Re: Semen thawing techniques
« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2010, 12:32:36 PM »
I dont want to jinx myself here or anything but i usually have very high conception rates and i take it right out of the tank load it and stick the loaded end of the gun under my arm ( should be close to 98 degrees) as i am walking to the chute ( about 30 seconds to 1 minute) and straight into the cow, i think the water bath stuff is WAY over rated, biggest thing is timing and placement.

Offline Clark Club Calves

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Re: Semen thawing techniques
« Reply #14 on: April 23, 2010, 07:12:16 PM »
Thanks for the info if other people do it I guess my Dad is not so crazy  ::)
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