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Artificial insemination and Heat Detection in Pigs

Artificial insemination refers to the introduction of either frozen or fresh semen into the female reproductive tract of an estrus pig using a catheter to achieve conception. Its very unfortunately that sometimes non estrus pigs are inseminated due to inadequacy in knowledge on heat detection/ heat signs by both farmers and technicians.

The semen must be got from a proven sire that is free from diseases and other detects especially the congenital defects.

AI requires a higher level of management than natural mating. Also, there is a greater chance of human error associated with AI than with natural service.

Below are some of the advantages of Artificial insemination in pigs:

  1. It allows for wider use and distribution of boar semen of high genetic merit if got from the legit suppliers.
  2. It prevents transmission of diseases especially the venereal one such as brucellosis, parvovirus infection from farm to farm through hiring and sale of the serving boars.
  3. It helps to overcome the practical problems of difference in size of males and females so semen from heavy boar can be used to serve a small sized sows.
  4. It eliminates the need to purchase, house and feed a boar especially on small scale farming.
  5. It reduces the farmer’s risk of handling boars for natural service.
  6. Under Artificial insemination, semen from one good boar can be used to serve more than 30 sows/ gilts.

Heat Detection in Pigs

Estrous detection in pigs is vital to the success of each breeding. The producer must be accurate in establishing the onset of estrus. Twice – daily estrous detection can be more effective than once- daily detection, although it consumes more time and labor.

To attain good conception rates in gilts/sows, accurate heat detection must be carried out to ensure that the timing of insemination or mating is correct to overcome wrong timing in detection of the start of estrous.

There are two basic methods of detecting oestrus in pigs: Back pressure test and Boar test

Whichever method is used, there are always early indication of which gilts/sows are coming on heat and these include; swelling and reddening of the vulva, decreased appetite, increased restlessness, attempts to court, mounting pen mates and attraction to the boar.

Now the Big Question is:

Artificial insemination and Heat Detection in Pigs
Pigs on Heat

When is the right time to inseminate?

This information is very Paramount to the farmer, herdsman and finally the inseminator.
A single insemination at the correct stage of the estrous will give a good conception rate and litter size. The difficulty is knowing the exact time the sow comes into oestrus. Most gilts and sows are inseminated one or two times during oestrus to be sure of a good conception and large litter size.

The timing of insemination depends on how frequently oestrus checks are done, and whether the female is a gilt or a sow.

A recommended insemination schedule, using two double insemination, is;
If oestrus detection is done once daily, there is a possibility that estrus may have commenced up to 20 hours ago. Here gilts are inseminated at their first detection and then 12 – 24 hours later. Sows are also inseminated at their first detection or delay first the insemination 12 hours and then inseminate again 24 hours later.

Artificial insemination and Heat Detection in Pigs
Artificial insemination on Pigs

If oestrus detection is done twice daily, there is still a possibility that oestrus may have commenced 4- 10 hours ago. Here gilts are inseminated up to 12 hours after seeing heat signs. The second insemination is done 12-24 hours later.

For sows, delay for 12- 24 hours then inseminate. Inseminate again 24 hours later.
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