Advantage and restrictions of artificial insemination (AI) in sheep and goats
EIAR-DBARC-ICARDA-ILRI (LIVES)-FAO Training on Reproduction in Sheep and Goat,
Debre Berhan, Ethiopia, 13-15 October 2014
Mourad Rekik, ICARDA
Unlimited Breeding Selection
More Matings per Ram or Buck
Primary advantages of AI is that ram or buck
from around the world can be used for
Make use of semen from deceased sires or
sires that live a much longer distance away
from the farm.
Can use more than one breeding sire on
your herd (for instance, you can use one sire
A farmer can have access to a wide variety of
ram and buck at relative low cost.
A farmer can make use of superior genetics that
cannot be found at a local animal sale.
Less cost compared to keeping one or more ram
and buck in terms of feeding, housing and labour
Many diseases in small
ruminant are spread
through sexual contact.
The risks of these
diseases are minimized
with AI because the
semen of the donating
animals is tested, the
procedure itself is
Through the use of artificial insemination, a
male can be bred far more often than with
According to the University of Florida's Institute of
Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS), a bull can be
bred naturally less than 100 times per year.
However, with artificial insemination the same bull
can be bred to tens of thousands of cows. The IFAS
notes that one bull, in 1968, provided semen for
more than 60,000 dairy cows.
Fertility rate, Clean-up male
Knowledge of physiology of reproduction
Cost for keeping semen frozen
Handling facilities for breeding
There is only a 40 to 60% conception rate for
AI than with using a fertile ram and buck.
Still have to use a ram or buck as "clean-up"
to cover the females that were missed or
• Behavioural patterns of oestrus
Ram-ewe seeking activity
Ewe’s tail fanning
Movement of the head
toward the male
followed by mating
• Insemination Time
The reasons for using AI in a farm need to be very clear. Within the
sheep industry, the group that can benefit more from these
techniques is the dairy sheep and goat.
The advantages of AI will be reached throughout:
1)Technician expertise in “farmers training” and “AI technique”
2) Farmers Trained : in Reproduction Management
Improvement semen quality
1) Long semen preservation (24-48h at 4°C)
2) Frozen semen (double insemination? Double doses?)