Equipment used in pig artificial insemination
Facilities in a successful artificial insemination (AI) operation should include:
- appropriately sized holding pens for sows (to test for oestrus away from other sows and to allow sows to rest post-insemination)
- a boar-holding pen with designed to allow nose-to-nose contact with sows
- good lighting and a non-slip surface
- facilities for disposal of waste
- Personal Protection equipment (PPE) to reduce the risk of injury to or infection of the stockperson.
- reusable rubber 'Melrose' with a spiral tip or disposable plastic catheters with several types of tip are commonly used for AI (all are easy to use and achieve good results)
- many inseminator staff prefer catheters with spiral tips that lock in (like the boar's penis) and reduce back-flow during insemination
- non spermicidal lubricant.
For post-cervical artificial insemination (PCAI), a catheter similar to a sponge tipped rod catheter is inserted through the vulva into the cervix. The semen is deposited into the uterine body by a sleeve that extends 200mm beyond the end of the rod catheter.
The disadvantage of reusable catheters is that scrupulous cleaning and hygienic storage is required between uses.
Semen bottles and tubes
Chilled semen bought from AI centres comes in ready-to-use inseminating bottles or tubes. A supply of clean plastic inseminating bottles is needed if semen is collected and used fresh or diluted on-farm.
Cleaning and storage
- Keep equipment clean (boar semen is an excellent medium for bacterial growth)
- Soak reusable equipment in cold water immediately after use so that semen or other material can be easily removed later
- Do not use soaps or detergents when cleaning equipment because they affect sperm viability
- Remove particles of gel with a brush
- Rinse, then boil rubber 'Melrose' catheters in distilled water for 10–20 minutes before reuse
- Do not use tap water for rinsing because it leaves mineral deposits on the equipment
- Store equipment in a dust-free cabinet or when completely dry, in a sealed plastic bag