Insemination & scanning

Insemination & scanning

Remember, timing is everything! Planning and strict attention to detail is the key to a successful AI programme. AI in red deer and wapiti crossbreds involves transcervical inter-uterine insemination, and requires rectal manipulation of the reproductive tract. This procedure is conducted by highly trained AI technicians. Follow the instructions of the AI contractor to the letter.

Due to the rather short AI season, it is very important to arrange for insemination services well in advance of requirements. Generally, inseminators will supply the synchronisation scheduling and organise dispatch and transport of frozen or fresh semen in time for the AI. However, in some cases the farmers themselves may need to co-ordinate semen dispatch from AI centres.

 It is normal practice to run the inseminated hinds with ‘back-up’ stags from about 10 days after AI.  This ensures that hinds that fail to conceive to AI have a chance of getting pregnant for the year.  However, this can mask the success of the AI programme unless hinds are ultrasound scanned early in pregnancy to assess foetal age or DNA is used to assess paternity of calves born.

Pregnancy scanning
Pregnancy scanning of AI success is a straight forward procedure, but requires appropriate timing in order to distinguish AI conceptions from those of the ‘back-up’ stags.

The ideal time of scanning is 45-50 days after AI. Foetuses of this age are very easily visualised and distinguished (see attached ultrasonogram of a Day 45 red deer foetus). By contrast, hinds conceiving to ‘back-up’ stags will have a pregnancy at least 10 days younger but most likely to be 18-21 days younger (length of an oestrous cycle).

Figure : An ultrasonogram of a Day 45 red deer foetus

deer foetus 45 days 

Show me the science

An article outlining the application and benefits of different preganancy scanning techniques.G Asher. Deer Industry News (2003) View here
Lawrence, D.W., Linney, L. (1998) Utilising data from ultrasound scanning for pregnancy NZVA Deer Branch Conf. Proceedings Vol15/61-64 View here