If you have been considering using artificial insemination in pigs, then you’ve found the right place!
Using artificial insemination in pigs at home is an excellent way to bring superior genetics to your herd and minimize some of your expenses by eliminating the need to have a boar on your farm.
If this is your first time reading about artificial insemination (AI), you need to read my post about how you can benefit from using AI on your farm here.
This post contains affiliate links. To view my affiliate disclaimer, click here.
I’m going to walk you through the steps of performing artificial insemination in pigs in this post. It’s a pretty straightforward process, but you need to make sure that you are comfortable with all of the steps before you try to perform the procedure with your pigs.
As you read through this article, you’ll notice that I use the term “AI”. Artificial insemination is a mouthful and is commonly referred to as “AI”.
What You Need for Artificial Insemination in Pigs
You’ll need to make sure that you have a few things before you’re ready to start- you’ll need some artificial insemination rods, lubricant (NOT spermicidal lube!), damp paper towels and your semen.
Most semen companies carry basic supplies such as rods and lube and will ask you if you need them to ship you some with your order. They’re very reasonably priced also. You can expect to spend anywhere from $5-20 for roads and lube.
Amazon carries veterinary grade lubricant from NASCO. Up until recently, they didn’t carry AI rods, but now they do! This is great news for those of us that do most of our shopping through Amazon! They have foam tipped rods in a package of spiral tipped rods that you can purchase in a larger pack.
Also make sure that your pig is in standing heat and ready for AI.
Make Sure She’s Ready
There are a few signs that your pig is ready for insemination. One of the most commonly used ways is a test called the back pressure test. The back pressure test is simply when you apply pressure to her back similar to how a boar would, and she supports your weight.
Some sows will even arc their back slightly and push back against you. If they are not in standing heat, they will move away from the pressure. Many sows that are in standing heat will allow you to sit on their back.
Once your sow is exhibiting that she is in standing heat, you can perform AI.
Timing the AI
I recommend that you perform AI at least twice during a heat cycle, preferably three times.
You will AI in 12-24 hour intervals.
So if you AI twice, you may want to do an 18-24 hour interval. So you would AI at say, 3 p.m. the first time and then 9 a.m.-3.p.m. the next day. If you AI three times, you could AI every 12 hours.
The first AI could be at 9 a.m., then around 9 p.m. the same day and then again at 9 a.m. the second day.
The times you AI all depend on when your sow or gilt is ready.
When you are ready for the procedure, take all of your supplies with you to your sow or gilt.
I like to put everything in a clean cooler or bucket. (A helping hand is nice also!)
Artificial Insemination in Pigs- The Process
What to Do
The first thing you’ll do is clean around the vulva with the damp paper towels. Make sure that you DON’T put soap on the paper towels, only water. The soap will kill sperm cells.
You’re removing any dirt or debris that could possibly enter her reproductive tract. Once she’s cleaned up, your ready for the next step.
Put a generous amount of the lubricant on the end of the AI rod. This helps the rod go smoothly into the reproductive tract.
A pig’s vaginal tract is very close to her urethra, where she urinates from. Her urethra is located at the bottom of her vulva, so you want to insert your AI rod at a slightly upward angle to avoid the urethra.
Once the rod is in, you’ll gently push the rod until you hit the cervix. If you are using a foam tipped rod, you will gently push the rod into the cervix. You will know that you have entered the cervix properly when you gently pull back on the rod and feel slight resistance.
If you are using a spiral tipped rod, you will start turning the rod counter-clockwise to lock the rod into the cervix. Gently pull back to make sure there is slight resistance.
Once the rod is in place, you can attach the bag of semen to the end of the rod.
The semen bag will need the tip cut off to allow the semen to enter into the rod. The corkscrew or foam tipped end of the rod has a hole in it. This hole will dispense the sperm into the cervix or directly into the uterus.
If your sow or gilt is in heat, her reproductive tract will begin contracting and will pull the sperm into her body.
Once the bag is empty, you can remove the bag, leaving the rod in place. You want to give the sperm in the rod time to leave the rod and empty in to her.
The tube of the rod is clear, so you will be able to see if there is fluid or air in the tube. Once you can no longer see sperm in the end of the AI rod, wait another minute or two to make sure that the entire rod is empty.
If you used a foam tipped rod, you can gently pull it back out of the cervix and pull it out. If you used a corkscrew rod, you can twist it clockwise to remove it from the cervix. You will feel slight resistance as you back it out of the cervix. Once it feels like it is out of the cervix, you can gently remove it.
Artificial insemination in pigs really isn’t complicated. It also offers so many benefits that you can’t get with natural breeding.
That’s it! Hopefully now she can start growing babies and working for you! If you’re successful, then you will have a pregnant momma. Click here to read what you can expect during pig pregnancy.
Have you performed AI with pigs before? Let me know!
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