Manual stimulation collection of semen from stallions: training time, sexual behavior and semen

S.M. McDonnell and C.C. Love

Abstract
  
 In experiment 1, 31 pony stallions of unknown breeding history were trained to either manual stimulation (n=20) or traditional artificial vagina (n=11) collection of semen.  For manual stimulation, 45% achieved ejaculation on the ground during the initial training session.  The remaining 55% achieved ejaculation by manual stimulation while mounted during the first or second training session.  For artificial vagina training, 73% ejaculated during the first training session.  The mean number of training sessions required was 1.15 for the manual stimulation technique and 1.18 for the traditional artificial vagina technique.  Experiment 2 was conducted to compare sexual behavior and the semen obtained by manual stimulation and artificial vagina procedures.  Six stallions which had been trained for manual stimulation collection of semen in Experiment 1 were used.  Semen was collected from each stallion in two replicates of four collections per replicate, during which each stallion was exposed alternatively on four successive days to manual stimulation or artificial vagina technique.  There were no significant differences due to the method of collection in total collection time, number of mounts required, or mount to ejaculation latency.  Manual stimulation required a mean of nine thrusts, while the artificial vagina required only six.  This difference was significant (P<0.0001).  There was no significant differences due to the method of collections for semen volume, gel volume, spermatozoa concentration, total number of spermatozoa per ejaculate, percent total motile spermatozoa or percent progressively motile spermatozoa.  For pH, there was a slight, yet significant difference (P<0.01) due to the collection method.  The mean pH of semen was 7.51 for the artificial vagina method and 7.43 for the manual stimulation method.  Manual stimulation was found to be a simple, efficient, and inexpensive method for collecting semen from stallions.  The artificial vagina and manual stimulation methods required similar training time and yielded similar semen samples.  Stallions maintained normal sexual behavior with manual stimulation and showed no difficulty alternating between manual stimulation and traditional artificial vagina methods of semen collection, or returning to natural service.