Equipment for collecting boar semen

The successful collection of viable semen from boars depends on correct handling techniques and care of equipment.

When collecting semen:

  • use an adjustable dummy sow (rather than an oestrus sow) to avoid any size differences between the animals, injury to sows, and any reluctance of the oestrus sow to support the boar's weight until ejaculation is complete
  • make sure the collection area is shady and draught-free (the viability of semen decreases with exposure to ultraviolet light, sudden temperature changes and water contamination).
  • use trained staff who implement documented workplace health and safety (WHS) procedures.

Required equipment

  • Plastic insulated flask or polystyrene cups (minimum capacity, 250mL) for semen collection
  • Semen filter (surgical or bandage gauge) that is fitted over the collection flask
  • Polythene graduated measuring cylinder or flask (if evaluating by volume)
  • Quality, calibrated thermometer to monitor the temperature of the semen storage container
  • Small polystyrene boxes cooled with frozen glacial acetic acid to store diluted semen or specific temperature refrigerator (between 14°C to 18°C is best)
  • Microscope slides and a microscope to evaluate the motility and quality of semen (if required)
  • Temperature-controlled water bath and cabinet to warm equipment and slides that will come into contact with fresh sperm (if evaluating and processing)
  • Personal protection equipment (PPE) to avoid injury to and infection of the stockperson
  • Semen diluent (processing using diluent is usually not necessary for small AI programs)
  • Non-slip surface or mat for the boar

Cleaning and storage

The proper care of equipment used to collect boar semen is crucial to the success of your breeding program:

  • use hygienic methods when collecting boar semen
  • keep equipment free from dust and dirt (store in dust-free cabinet or sealed plastic bag).

Carefully wash equipment after use:

  • soak reusable containers in cold water immediately after use
  • remove semen gel particles with a brush
  • rinse several times in distilled boiling water (tap water leaves mineral deposits on equipment)
  • allow to dry in a dust-free environment (dust-free cabinet)
  • avoid using soap or detergent when cleaning containers as residues can affect sperm viability.