November 11 & 12, 2003
Fayetteville, TN

Written by Robert Spencer of Alabama A & M University’s Small Farms Research Center
Edited by Pat Motes

The field day for buck collection and artificial insemination taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday, November 12 and 13, 2003 was a collaborative effort involving Superior Semen Works, Goat Producers from Alabama and Tennessee, and Robert Spencer from Alabama A & M University’s Small Farms Research Center. Robert Spencer began organizing the event late last spring (2003) by inviting Superior Semen Works (SSW) to make a visit to the Tennessee Valley; they gladly accepted.

During the summer months Mr. Spencer contacted goat producers he works with, educated them on the benefits of buck collection and artificial insemination, and developed a contact list of those who would be interested in participating in such an event. During the summer and into the fall Mr. Spencer continued to correspond with SSW and goat producers who had expressed interest in such a workshop. The effort involved in organizing this event paid off as the number of those participating was impressive and the information provided by SSW was well received.

Artificial insemination (AI) offers several advantages over natural breeding. (1) It is a viable method of expanding the genetics within a herd without retaining ownership of a variety of bucks. AI allows access to genetics that may not be found locally. It also allows “access” to genetics from a goat that may otherwise be too expensive to purchase. (2) It allows for the operation of a “closed herd” which minimizes the opportunity for introduction of “outside” diseases. A closed herd is an existing herd where the farm manager does not allow the introduction of any new animals; they keep the nannies and bucks already on the farm and utilize artificial insemination to introduce new genetics. (3) AI is more economically practical than maintaining a buck on the property. The initial cost of purchasing a buck, the cumulative feed and health care costs, and additional fencing needed to secure the buck can become very costly over time. A straw of semen simply requires a well insulated semen tank filled with liquid nitrogen. AI offers farm managers a simple method of managing risks associated with purchase, ownership, and maintenance of a buck.

During the morning session on Tuesday and Wednesday, “buck collection” took place for owners interested in collecting semen from their bucks. Semen collection from male goats is another form of managing risk associated with buck ownership. Buck collection allows access to the genetics of a particular buck even when the buck is no longer on the premises or even after the buck has passed on. The owner may choose to retain frozen straws of semen for future use or sell them to someone else who recognizes the quality of a particular buck. Buck collection is a form of risk management as insurance in case the buck unexpectedly expires. This allows access to the genetics of a particular bloodline whether the buck is available or not. Semen collection from any buck is a form of insurance that minimizes risk in case loss of a buck occurs.

Fifteen participants attended the two-day event plus ten bucks, fourteen does, and one dog. The goat producers who attended are listed at the end of this report. Note the asterisk by several clients of the Small Farms Outreach Program. The event was well organized, informative, and beneficial to all those attending. The remainder of this report will discuss some of the specifics that took place and pictures with descriptions are included.

Morning activities on Tuesday and Wednesday involved buck collection. The basic process of semen collection on bucks involves securing a “teaser” doe (doe in heat) on a stand with a headcatch; bringing a buck in and introducing them to each other by letting them meet face to face; then bringing the buck behind the captive doe.

Weatherman, owned by Rudy and Lea Caudill is brought in to flirt with the “teaser” doe.

When the buck tries to mount the doe a technical assistant inserts a rubber sleeve (artificial vagina) over the penis of the goat and; in a state of excitement, the buck ejaculates into the collection sleeve.

Geoff Masterman collects Ken and Pat Motes’ boer goat, Hercules.

The buck is pulled away from the doe and placed into a confinement pen in case he is needed for additional collection. The technician immediately takes the specimen into a lab, puts a sample under a microscope, and tests it for fertility. As long as the level of fertility is an acceptable level, the semen is mixed with an extender (egg whites, used to provide protein for the sperms), put into AI straws, and frozen in liquid nitrogen for storage. On Tuesday, 9 bucks were collected and the number of viable straws ranged from one to 48 per buck. All owners were very happy with the success of this program, confident in knowing they had collected “insurance,” and the genetics of their bucks were preserved for future use.

Sultan was one of the bucks collected. This goat is a dairy buck of the Saneen breed. There are about five varieties of dairy goats.

Early in the afternoon the instructional class for artificial insemination took place. Geoff and Nancy Masterman of Superior Semen Works were the instructors. They provided printed materials, lectures, and hands on experience, all of which made for a well rounded educational experience. See pictures below.

Paul McCrar and friend study the AI booklet given out by Superior Semen Works.
The lecture session begins as Geoff discusses the various pieces of equipment used in the AI process
Lessons continue.
The audience was very attentive, and the “teaser” does (in headcatches) very patient.

After the lecture part of the seminar was complete the hands-on part began. This part was not for the squeamish, and neither are the pictures.

In this picture you see some of the basic items used in AI. Distilled water (used for rinsing), alcohol (used for sanitizing equipment), and, in the yellow box, all the equipment used for AI.
Here you see Geoff demonstrating how the speculum is inserted in the vagina of the doe; a light is attached inside the speculum.
This is what the set-up looks like prior to inserting the French Gun (tool used to insert the semen) with the straw of semen in it.
Geoff is inserting the French Gun into the speculum. Next, he will slide the gun into the cervix and through five rings of muscle in the cervix. At that point the straw at the tip of the gun will be near the horn of the uterus. He will pull back the gun slightly and release the semen from the straw into the doe.

At this point a break was provided followed by a hands-on session for all those who attended the two day event.

Everyone takes the opportunity to relax, discuss the day’s events, and discuss what will happen next.
Time for the hands on part. Paul McCrary gets to help Geoff in a demonstration while others watch closely.
Ken Motes prepares to take his turn and gain some experience
Jeanna Martin and Myrna Dutcher take their turn getting a close look while Ken, Geoff and others look on.
Geoff takes another look prior to others taking their turn.
Paul McCrary looks for the watch he lost while taking his turn.
Geoff demonstrates the procedure to insert the semen from the straw into the cervix of the doe.

At this point the demonstration and hands-on lesson was finished. It was time to begin doing the real thing. Many of those attending had already made arrangements to purchase straws of semen from Superior that Geoff had collected from bucks throughout the U.S. Prices for the straws ranged from $15 to $125 and allowed goat farmers in Alabama and Tennessee to obtain prime genetics they normally would not have access to.

In this picture you see Geoff inserting a straw of semen worth $100. This is one of those no one wants to see dropped on the ground. This is the truck the Mastermans use to pull their trailer and travel the countryside. The trailer is their living quarters as well as their lab. They travel from the Northeast part of the U.S. to Texas from late spring to early winter, working with goat producers. Their services are for most of the year.

The information provided during this two day event was very beneficial to those attending. Everyone agreed they were glad they attended the event and took the opportunity to save the genetics they so greatly value in their present herd sires. This buck collection will insure improved genetic traits are passed on for generations to come. The Mastermans and all the goat producers attending this two day workshop agreed it needs to become an annual event is this area.

List of Goat Producers
Participating in the Buck Collection and Artificial Insemination Workshop Hosted by Alabama A & M University.
Tuesday & Wednesday November 11 & 12, 2003

Lee and Rudy Caudill * - Section, AL
Myrna & Marty Dutcher* - Fayetteville, TN
Jimmie and Jeanna Martin - Cornersville, TN
Geoff & Nancy Masterman - New Hampshire
Paul McCrary * - Huntsville, AL
Kenneth & Pat Motes * - Leoma, TN
Sydne & Robert Spencer * - Taft, TN

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Ken and Pat Motes
Clear Creek Farms
33 South Clear Creek Road
Fall River, Tennessee 38468
Phone: (931) 852-2167
Fax: (931) 852-2168

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