The economics of AI in goats?

Discussion in 'Goats' started by Laura Workman, Jan 23, 2005.

  1. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

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    Hi folks, the boys are a mite hard on my ground and my neighbors, and I'm wondering how realistic it would be to go with AI instead of keeping bucks. The problem is, I have virtually no knowledge about the economics and practicalities of AI. So here come the questions:

    Do you have to keep a liquid nitrogen tank on the premises? If so, how big? How much would one expect to pay for a reliable tank? What is the maintenance cost (refilling with Nitrogen)? What is the maintenance period? Does one typically have an automatic schedule with a nitrogen guy, or what? If you don't need to keep your own tank, where do you store the semen? If the semen is offsite, how do you get it home in good shape when your doe is in heat?

    I've seen straws of semen for sale. What does it cost to ship them? How much is the shipper? If it's expensive, do you have to buy it, or can it be rented?

    How reliable is AI? Is it technically difficult to get it right?

    What is involved in getting a buck collected? Does it make sense economically if you only want to keep the straws yourself, not necessarily market them?

    Well, I guess that's it for now. I'll let you know if I think of anything I still have questions about. Thanks in advance for any information. It's so great to have all you experienced goat folks to come to for advice!
     
  2. Tracy in Idaho

    Tracy in Idaho Well-Known Member Supporter

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    ***Do you have to keep a liquid nitrogen tank on the premises?

    It depends on whether there is anyone around you that you could rent tank space from.

    ***If so, how big?

    Depends on what you want! The sky is the limit -- you can get them anywhere from a few hundred straws to thousands.

    ***How much would one expect to pay for a reliable tank?

    I bought a 1200 straw tank from http://www.superiorsemenworks.com for $485 last year. Sometimes you can find used tanks at a good cost.

    ***What is the maintenance cost (refilling with Nitrogen)?

    They say the hold time on mine is 5 months, but I usually take mine in every couple of months to get topped off. If I am going that way anyhow, I may as well. It costs me $20-25 usually.

    ***What is the maintenance period? Does one typically have an automatic schedule with a nitrogen guy, or what?

    Most folks who don't live in the boonies like me do, yes. They will zip by your place once a month or so. Or, you simply haul your tank in to them.

    ***If you don't need to keep your own tank, where do you store the semen? If the semen is offsite, how do you get it home in good shape when your doe is in heat?

    You would have to rent tank space from someone else. The downside to this is that you are completely dependent upon them for the "health" of your semen. You can transport it in a dense covered styrofoam cooler filled with liquid nitrogen for maybe 20-30 minutes. Longer transport time would mean either carrying the tank or having a shipper (which costs as much as the tank)

    ***I've seen straws of semen for sale. What does it cost to ship them? How much is the shipper? If it's expensive, do you have to buy it, or can it be rented?

    No clue on this....though I know you can rent a shipper. I think most of the processing companies will send your semen to you in one and then you send it back. Keep in mind too, that they will have a minimum order if you get semen that way -- I know one is $300, another I think is $100. Much cheaper and easier to pick up semen from the processor at buck collections, shows, conventions, etc.

    ***How reliable is AI? Is it technically difficult to get it right?

    I'm just starting, but plenty of folks have a 90%+ conception rate. It's not so much difficult I think as just practice, and you HAVE to check does throughout their cycle to get the right timing. The best thing to do is to attend an AI clinic -- all the processors offer them.

    ***What is involved in getting a buck collected? Does it make sense economically if you only want to keep the straws yourself, not necessarily market them?

    I had both my bucks collected this year....it's cheap insurance if they decide to drop dead. You haul them to where ever the buck collection is, they get to mount a jump doe repeatedly (they like this, lol) and you go back the next day with your tank to pick up your finished straws of semen. It is ~$3 a straw, with a 30 straw minimum on a buck.

    The beauty of AI though, is getting to use all those bucks that you could never afford yourself, or be able to travel to!

    Tracy
     

  3. susanne

    susanne Nubian dairy goat breeder

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    very interesting topic. if i buy one srtaw does it mean it is good vor only one doe? orcould i divide it? if so, how many times could i cut one straw?
    susanne
     
  4. Tracy in Idaho

    Tracy in Idaho Well-Known Member Supporter

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    No, one straw per doe.... you're only working with a half of a cc of semen!

    Tracy
     
  5. Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians

    Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians Well-Known Member

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    Just some other thoughts to add to Tracy's perfect post. Semen collectors travel the country this time of year, you can have them stop at your place to collect your buck, to purchase equipment from them and to purchase semen. Also Ron Keener travels the country every 3 months or so hauling goats in huge loops all over the US, he carries a semen tank and delivers semen. You can also purchase semen at most shows, and any major dairy goat event.

    This is one of those time that belonging to a goat club, which puts you in touch with the goat community around you, is so valuable. Culbs and teaching univeristies put on AI clinics, you can have a semen collection date with several other breeders and at the same time do an AI clinic on your own does with everyone there. It costs less this way.

    Lots of vet who do dogs have semen tanks and if you have a good relationship with them ask them to rent space. You can find used shipper tanks for a couple of hundred dollars which will keep the semen ready for you to use for a week or more. Go get your shipper filled, then go get your semen when it's conveinent to use on the doe who is going to come in next week, use that semen etc.

    We have the guru's of the new protocoals of CIRDS and the hormones of AI, talking about this exact thing right now Tracy and Kaye, on our list. If you are thinking about AI for the future you may want to print it out.

    Honestly though I don't know anyone who does AI who does not own a buck also because some does are simply not going to take. Vicki
     
  6. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

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    Wow, Tracy, what a motherlode of information! Thank you so much!!!

    So now I'm looking for a processor, tank, etc. I think I'm sold on the idea! I'm currently keeping four bucks for seven does because of the different breeds I have, and it sounds like AI would be much less expensive after the initial startup cost. Thanks again!
     
  7. mamagoose

    mamagoose Well-Known Member

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    The nice thing about collecting your own buck is that you then have "cheap" (cheaper) straws to practice with!