Bad habits. We all have them. They are often developed as a way to get the job done faster or easier, but that doesn’t always mean the job is done right. Members of the GENEX A.I. training team share the most common bad habits they witness on farms. If you are victim of these bad habits, accept that you’ve made them and begin paving your path to improvement.
According to Carlos Marin and Javier Cheang, here are the five most common bad A.I. habits they see on farms today.
1) Over confidence. Once an individual has gained experience breeding cows, it is easy to try to skip steps. Don’t! Every step is important to achieving good results.
2) Pulling the gun out instead of pushing the plunger when depositing semen. This is very common. To properly deposit semen, push the plunger half way and then double-check placement of the tip of the gun. If the tip is in the right place (through the cervix and just into the uterine body), deposit the second half of the semen.
3) Depositing frozen semen. The Pocket Thaw™ method is easy to do, but sometimes not enough time is allowed for the semen to thaw properly (should thaw in pocket for 2-3 minutes). If the cow is located really close to where the gun is being loaded, it is better to opt for the water thaw method.
4) Dirt, grime and slime. This is a combination of several instances where a little extra time and effort can yield big results. Wrap the loaded A.I. gun in a clean breeding sleeve. Often breeders place the guns directly into their shirt, but remember, whatever is put into the cow’s reproductive tract is going to stay there. If the gun was not wrapped, it could mean way more than just semen is being deposited (e.g., sweat, lint, dust, manure, deodorant). Clean the semen thawing vessels. It is common to find slimy water in thaw vessels. This is a good source of contamination for semen straws and A.I. guns. Also check that the thermometer is working properly. The water must be between 95 to 98° F (35-37°C). Clean those gunky pockets in A.I. gun warmers. If using a gun warmer, make sure to clean and wash the inside pocket often. Clean contaminated A.I. guns. Guns should be cleaned at least once a week with warm water, but never add detergent. Let them dry standing upright. Spray them with alcohol to help with disinfection. Clean manure off the vulva. Be sure to clean the vulva with a paper towel prior to inserting the A.I. gun to prevent contamination.
5) Raising the canister above the semen tank frost line. Be careful when removing semen from the tank. Lifting the canister above the frost line exposes the remaining semen straws to room temperatures and starts the thawing process, thus providing opportunity for sperm damage.