In this second part we are going to focus on the semen collection process, with some general recommendations and comments on the manual collection and introducing the automatic one.
You should try to perform the collection the cooler hours of the day or with air conditioning in the collection area, since it is a physical effort for the boar, and the heat can negatively impact the animal’s jump to the dummy. Likewise, it is not recommended to perform it just after feeding the boars. However, we can reward them later with a small amount of feed that will make them return to their stables quicker.
Both when performing the automatic collection and in the manual one, in the case of having collection rooms and in order to optimize time, a person can be in charge of the boar´s entrance and exit, while two or more carry out the collection.
Focusing on the collection process, we will use the “double glove” technique that consists of using two gloves: with the first one all the stimulation maneuvers are performed, also the cleaning of the foreskin and penis and the discharge of urinary traces of the preputial diverticulum (using non-spertotoxic disinfectant paper or wipes) and with the second glove the penis is held.
The cleaning can be performed or in the pre-collection pen if we have it, or in the collection one. In the moments prior to the exposure of the penis we can cut the hair of the foreskin, to avoid a possible source of contamination, by using blunt scissors.
- Once the penis is completely out, and the so-called pre-sperm fraction has been discarded (transparent color, with remains of urine and a high bacterial load), we will begin to collect the spermatic or rich fraction of the ejaculate over material tempered at 37ºC .
- While the boar is ejaculating, it may be advisable to perform pulsations on the penis (increasing and decreasing the pressure slightly), to stimulate this ejaculation.
- It is important not to lean the hand or wrist on the collection container, since the ideal situation is for the ejaculate to fall directly on the filter without contacting the hand.
- We will hold the animal’s penis until it has finished ejaculating. Otherwise, collection can become a negative stimulus that will cause the rejection of the jump /dummy.
- The automatic systems emerged a few years ago in order to optimize the collection process, and offers several advantages over the manual ones (standardization among operators, increased productivity, hygiene,…). Next week we will attach a publication regarding the advantages of this type of system.
- In the automatic collection, the first steps of stimulation, cleaning … are similar to the manual one. Once the penis is out, we must take it with the artificial cervix and then fit it into a compression system that maintains the erection of the boar without using the human hand.
- Once the pre-sperm fraction is discarded, then we will proceed to the complete collection of the ejaculate pouring it over material tempered at 37ºC.
- In this system, once the boar ends the ejaculation, the relaxation of the penis allows it to be removed from the artificial cervix.
For many years it has been thought that the collection of the post-sperm or poor fraction (about 200 cc), could reduce the time of conservation. This fraction, with a clear and whitish appearance, comes from the accessory glands, and contains a small number of sperm, much of the seminal plasma and a gelatinous fraction called tapioca. Today it is considered to be untrue, and what is more, the seminal plasma can have a positive influence on the fecundating capacity of the ejaculate. In the case of the automatic dummies, discarding the post-sperm fraction is impossible, since the entire ejaculate is collected, except the pre-sperm fraction.
Finally, it must be said that if we take a boar to the collection pen, and after 15 minutes shows no interest in the dummy, we will return the animal to its pen, trying it again a few hours later. And remember that while the boar is in the collection area we must avoid handlings that can cause stress (vaccinations, dispensation of antibiotics …).
Once the day of collections is finished, we will clean and disinfect the area with water under pressure.
In two weeks´ time, in the third and last part of the tips for collection, we will publish some advice related to the right handling of the ejaculate during the collection process.