Articles on mare care during breeding season can be found all over the internet, but what about stallion care during breeding season? Just as mare care for pregnant mares is important, so is stallion care for the stud – after all they do make up the other half of the equation when trying for that dream baby.
Several factors go into preparing a stallion for a successful breeding season. Recently, we were able to pick the brain of Dr. Hallie Noland, part-owner of Sage Veterinary Services to chat about the best care practices.
Located in Baggs, Wyoming, Sage Veterinary Services offers a full-service stallion facility which includes phantom training, semen collection and evaluation, semen processing for shipments, freezing semen, in house stallion management and year-round stallion boarding. In addition, Sage Vet also offers a range of other veterinary services such as bovine services, emergency care, small ruminant services, and mare reproductive services.
Owned and managed by Dr. Ben Noland and Dr. Hallie Noland, Sage Veterinary Services currently stand seven stallions: Coal Train Fame, Flay, High Brow Tuesday, KT Sacred War Paint, Oceans Apart, Streaky Smudge, Tresseis Royal Fame, and Very Special Playgun. Sage Vet also has frozen semen on Smoke N Sparks and A Tru Rolex.
Dr. Ben and Dr. Hallie have a few areas you can focus on when it comes to stallion management.
The first being nutrition. It is important to maintain good nutrition all year to ensure health of your stallion and his sperm cells. Making sure they are maintaining weight and able to perform at their best will help with their overall numbers as well as ease of collections for the stallions.
When it comes to overall health and wellness, vaccinations and general wellness checks are often performed during the season to make sure the stallions are able to perform at their bests. Fevers in stallions can cause many issues further down the line as it may not affect their sperm until 60-75 days later.
At Sage Veterinary Services, stallions are collected Monday-Wednesday-Friday, unless
there is a conflict, and not all stallions are collected on the same days.
“When a stud is collected, we will ship it out that day,” explained Dr. Hallie Noland.
Other stallion operations may choose to collect every other day as they are able to do counter to counter shipments on the weekends. It’s always a great idea to check collection schedules of the stallion you are looking to breed to before you need to order.
The stallions collected at Sage Vet are evaluated under a microscope for progressive motility as well as utilizing a densitometer to measure concentration.
“Once we have those numbers we can calculate a dose to send to the mare,” said Dr. Noland, “Normal dose for a cooled shipment is 1 billion progressively motile sperm.”
Each stallion is tested to make sure what the best extender is for them. Once the semen is processed and packaged in the shipping box it is shipped priority overnight or next day air to the mare. Most stallions do well with cooled semen and are able to ship this way.
Frozen semen is another great aspect for stallions to utilize if you are wanting to stand their stallion to the public but still show or rodeo on. This allows mare owners to breed to the stallion without having to have him physically available at all times.
Frozen semen is processed initially the same as cooled as progressive motility and concentration are recorded as well. Once the semen has been examined, the semen in extender is placed in the centrifuge to concentrate it further. Once the seminal plasma and extender is removed off of the pellet following the centrifugation, a frozen semen extender is added to the pellet and a new concentration is obtained. This allows for the final concentration of 200million per mil of
semen in the straws.
The standard dose for frozen semen is eight straws per dose. Keep in mind, not every stallion will be able to freeze.
“We always do a test freeze for stallions to help determine if this is a viable route for the stallion.” said Dr. Noland.
“A majority of our stallions are AI only stallions, however one will do live cover as well as AI,” said Dr. Noland. “Most stallions standing to the public have switched to AI only as it is safer for the stallion as well as they are able to reach a greater number of mares with one collection.”
The animals at Sage Veterinary Services are fed twice a day, which allows them to make sure they are all evaluated multiple times a day.
“All of our stallions have their own separate pen that is at least 50 feet in all directions away from another stallion as well as they are on the opposite end of the property from the mares. This helps maintain safety for the stallions as well as handlers.” said Dr. Noland.
When making your plans for mare care this breeding season, don’t forget to care for your stallion as well.
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