"If you review efficiency trendlines and reductions in carbon footprint over the past 20 years in the pork industry, you can’t help but be excited by the strides we’ve made. Unfortunately, with the pandemic turning our world upside down, we now have to put the brakes on production and restrict performance of live animals as processing plants are slowed or halted...." Pig Health Today and Joseph F. Connor
"There are several reproductive technologies that enable livestock breeders to produce more high-quality offspring and/or extend the genetics of valuable animals. Artificial insemination, frozen semen, embryo transfer, etc have become relatively commonplace among seed-stock breeders..." -Heather Smith Thomas
"Why do we have to thaw straws before we inseminate?
Signed: Cow Inseminator 007
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Signed: The Expert
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Fun question Curious Breeder. And the answer is field work versus lab work!
When doing a BSE (breeding soundness exam) your veterinarian must examine the sperm in a microscope in conditions that are less than ideal. And generally he/she is just looking for a pass or fail criteria.
We go 3 steps beyond the field. We bring the samples into our laboratory then assess motility using a computer assisted sperm analyzer – a fancy name for a machine that tells us so much more than a visual motility. We also analyze for those factors that can’t be seen visually…the DNA, the membrane, the acrosome and the fluidity of the membrane. We can’t see these things but they all impact fertility!
And you know, if we identify a problem, there are steps that you might be able to take to improve fertility!
Well, Ms. Mind the answer is a little harsh. Animals in the wild obviously don’t have the benefit of veterinarian care and they are also naturally selected for reproductive ease. A female that doesn’t have reproductive fitness in the wild doesn’t pass on her genetics. Thus, only animals that can reproduce with ease will contribute to the next generation resulting in a population of fit animals. Depending on the species you are referencing, many have evolved mechanisms that increases the likelihood of producing offspring such as multiple rounds of the estrus cycle during the breeding season allowing them mating opportunities with a variety of different males. The problem we see in our domestics is that we take away the natural selection and traits of interest become our focus. This is not true for all domestic animals but dogs and horses are a great example of this.