Project Number: 3012-31000-005-12-N
Project Type: Nonfunded Cooperative Agreement
Start Date: Mar 1, 2014
End Date: Feb 28, 2016
To continue to develop our non-surgical artificial insemination technique for sheep using frozen-thawed ram semen. Development of this technique will enable Rambouillet sheep producers to have access to better rams/genetics via easily transported frozen semen, allow producers to perform artificial insemination on their own sheep, provide the National Animal Germplasm Program with a more efficient and cost effective method for utilizing repository samples, and encourage the development of a frozen ram semen industry, similar to the bull semen industry, in the US.
The estrous cycle of Rambouillet ewes will be synchronized. Rambouillet ram semen will be collected and cryopreserved. The ewes will then be inseminated using our non-surgical technique at designated times with frozen-thawed ram semen. The non-return to estrous rate, the pregnancy rate, and the prolificacy rate (number of lambs born per ewe lambing) will be determined. The results will then be evaluated to refine the techniques (e.g. insemination times, number of sperm per insemination, etc.) to improve the fertility rate in subsequent years. The techniques will be explained and demonstrated to enable future performance by the cooperator.