The benefits of artificial insemination:
Gotland sheep are not native to the US. Through the GSBANA, There are 10 recognized breeds of sheep that breeders can use to cross with and up-breed their Gotland flock.
At Appletree Farm, 2019 will be our 3rd year doing Artificial Insemination on the farm. WE have purchased semen from 100% Swedish Gotland rams that we inseminate our high percentage ewes with. This allows us to bring up the percentage of our flock as well as bring in traits of Swedish Gotlands.
The procedure of artificial insemination:
We have a technician come out to the farm to do the procedure. It is quick but requires some specific equipment, skills and practice. The technician brings out the frozen semen and inseminate the ewes within minutes. It is a minor surgical procedure. Prior to the insemination, we have to synchronize the ewes to receive the semen at the optimal time.
For more information on AI, follow this link.
The downsides of artificial insemination:
- It is costly
- It is only roughly 50 to 80% successful
- It requires putting in CDRs, giving shots of hormones, and managing the ewes quite a bit
- Having a teaser ram is helpful (not everybody has a teaser ram)
- It is definitely more work for the shepherd/breeder/farmer
One has to balance out the benefits and the downfalls of artificial insemination and choose what fits best for their farm.