In today’s post we will explain the differences between the frozen semen and cooled semen. As we know, today thanks to globalization the business of selling semen exceeds the borders. A success example is certainly the undisputed Totilas. The price only for frozen semen is € 8,000 (€ 4,000 is refundable if the mare is scanned not in foal on 1st October 2015 and a veterinarian certificate has been received)
Amounts of money is related into the European market but especially internationally. The fact that it is an elite athlete horset will influence their semen extraction cycle? It is better the refrigerated frozen semen? What is the procedure for extracting semen? Which is the role of legislation and health checks? Each country has its peculiarities?
To answer these interesting questions, firstly we will describe the main characteristics of semen refrigerated and frozen semen. In a second way we will analyze the strengths and weaknesses of those. Finally we will talk about Bellman
Chilled Shipped Semen versus Frozen Semen
As clarification, shipped chilled semen refers to the practice of breeding mares with semen which is chilled not frozen. Chilled semen is usually fertile 1-3 days while frozen semen has indefinite “shelf life”. Breeding mares with frozen semen can significantly more time consuming and somewhat more expensive. Time and expense are comes predominantly from the increased palpation requirements needed for successful AI of frozen semen. Chilled shipped semen refers to semen which is cooled to approximately 4°C but not frozen. Frozen semen is frozen in liquid nitrogen to -196°C. Chilled semen is usually fertile 1-3 days after collection, while frozen semen has indefinite “shelf life” until thawed. Breeding mares with frozen semen can yield successful results but it is not for every mare. It requires thoughtful mare selection, extremely careful mare management, attention to detail, and proper handling of good quality semen
Breeding mares with frozen semen has all the advantages of artificial insemination (AI) with chilled shipped semen, namely: large selection of high quality individuals without the problem of shipping mares over great distances.
Breeding to overseas stallions is readily available with frozen semen but not with chilled semen. Additionally, breeding with frozen semen eliminates some of the availability problems encountered with chilled semen: when there are more requests than semen available, a stallion’s competition schedule taking them away from breeding shed, stallion illness, problems with overnight shipping, or death of the stallion. Frozen semen does however come with its own set of challenges. Some of these challenges arise from the basics of frozen semen itself, others from how stallions are selected as sires and of the marketplace which has developed around this industry.
Advantages of Equine Frozen Semen
No Need for On-demand Collections
In previous years it was necessary for a stallion to be either a show stallion or a breeding stallion. If he were to be a show stallion the decision could delay or limit his ability to produce offspring. Many shows take place in the spring and thus interfere with the natural breeding season of the horse. If he were to be a breeding stallion he would be “retired” to the breeding shed and no longer compete. With increased acceptance of frozen semen a stallion owner no longer has to choose…he can do both.
A young stallion builds his reputation based not only on his genetic history but also on his ability to perform in the show ring. To build his reputation he must remain in training, attend shows, and have the opportunity to showcase his talent. The need to retire him to the breeding shed before he has achieved his athletic potential could have a negative effect on the number of breedings he receives. However, if he continues to attend shows mare owners are given the opportunity to witness his ability, view his confirmation and experience his personality, and he also has the chance to win championships. Some choose to offer only frozen semen during the breeding season where others may choose to offer fresh or cooled semen while he is not showing but then offer frozen semen when the stallion is away from home.
When stallions are collected for semen freezing, the collection frequency is typically 3 days per week. This provides the optimum balance of sperm production and semen quality for most stallions. With cooled semen most stallions are collected at least 4 times per week and for some heavily booked stallions they may be collected 6 or 7 times per week and this can last for an entire 5-6 month breeding season. This extensive collection schedule can be very stressful on stallions and may lead to lameness or behavioral problems.
Another added benefit is that when processing frozen semen every bit of the ejaculate is utilized and therefore no semen is wasted. A typical stallion produces enough sperm to make 6 – 8 breeding doses. Most stallions don’t require that many doses be shipped on a particular collection day, so the unrequired semen is often poured down the drain. Alternatively, if sufficient semen remains after cooled semen doses have been prepared, the remaining semen can be frozen and stored for future use.
Access to a Global Market
The proximity of a stallion to a mare used to determine which stallion a mare owner would choose for breeding their mare. With frozen semen and use of the internet the world can be the market for any stallion. Frozen semen can also allow stallion owners to tap into both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere breeding season which can provide year round income.
Though some countries have regulations for the importation of fresh and/or cooled equine semen the logistics make these options nearly impossible. Between the necessary paperwork, flight schedules, distance between countries, and time it takes to clear a shipment through customs the only logical, easy answer is frozen semen.
The Initial Costs of Freezing Semen May be More Expensive
The initial costs of Freezing Semen May be more expensive
When a stallion is collected for cooled semen doses there is typically no out-of-pocket cost for the stallion owner at the time of collection. The collection, processing and shipping fees are usually covered by the mare owners and paid directly to the collection facility.
When semen is frozen from a stallion the expenses are paid by the stallion owner at the time of collection and processing. Though this does not have to be a negative for the stallion owner. Incurring the cost to freeze semen can allow the stallion owner to keep their stallion in training and in the show ring adding to their earnings during breeding season. For stallions collected offsite it can negate the inconvenience of trailering the stallion to another facility for cooled semen collections. If the stallion is collected on the farm, salaries paid to additional staff to collect semen for cooled shipments during breeding season are unnecessary and can be used towards semen freezing costs instead. Alternatively, fees paid for freezing semen can be figured into the amount of a stallion’s breeding or booking fee allowing the stallion owner to recover their initial investment of collecting and storing frozen semen with each breeding sold.
When deciding the pros and cons of equine frozen semen there are many factors to consider. Though many myths can be proven false it is best to contact a facility well versed in collecting, processing, storing, distributing and breeding equine frozen semen with any questions.
In the spring of 2013 Bellman was proclaimed as a Barock Pinto Stallion. Not only it was proclaimed but actually is still the best stallion withj the highest score of all in the studbook of the breed.
In October 2013, the owners of Bellman bet on the frozen semen. Therefore, for one week, Bellman moved to the University University of Barcelona for the extraction of semen. He made all required tests mandated by the European legislation.
Bellman is the few Stallions with frozen Semen in the Barock Pinto StudBook.
* Source: http://info.selectbreeders.com/blog/bid/153738/The-Pros-and-Cons-of-Equine-Frozen-Semen