Comparison of electroejaculation and transrectal massage for semen collection in range and yearling feedlot beef bulls
Two experiments were conducted to compare electroejaculation (EE) and transrectal massage (RM) of the ampullary region for semen collection from beef bulls, and to determine the effect of semen collection method on semen traits. In experiment 1, semen was collected either by EE or RM randomly assigned on an alternate basis in 137 range beef bulls unaccustomed to being handled. The maximum time allowed for RM was 4 min and if no semen was obtained, EE was used. In experiment 2, semen was collected from 39 yearling feedlot beef bulls that were accustomed to being handled, by RM followed immediately by EE. The maximum time allowed for semen collection by both methods was 4 min. In both experiments, sperm concentration, percent of progressively motile sperm, percent of sperm staining alive, and sperm morphology were determined. In experiment 1, RM resulted in fewer (P<0.001) successful semen collections and fewer bulls with penile protrusion than EE (80.9% versus 100% and 54.4% versus 91.5%, respectively). The success of RM was not influenced by bull age or breed, or by the veterinarian performing the massage. Transrectal massage required more time (30s, P<0.001) for obtaining a semen sample and resulted in samples with lower sperm concentration (P<0.001), percent motile sperm (P<0.05) and percent live sperm (P<0.001) when compared to EE. In experiment 2, EE and RM were equally effective for obtaining a semen sample (97.4 and 94.9%, respectively), but the proportion of bulls exhibiting penile protrusion during semen collection was lower (P<0.0001) with RM compared to EE. Percent of sperm staining alive was also lower (P<0.01) in samples collected by RM. Sperm morphology (normal sperm, head defects, midpiece defects, proximal cytoplasmic droplets, and detached sperm heads) did not differ between samples collected by EE and RM. In conclusion, semen could be collected by transrectal massage from approximately 80% of range beef bulls and from 95% of yearling beef bulls accustomed to handling. Sperm morphology was not affected by the method of semen collection, but percent of motile sperm and live sperm were lower in samples collected by RM. A reduced ability to stimulate penile protrusion with RM precluded examination of the penis in a large proportion of bulls.
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