A reduction in the pregnancy percentage can be partly due to early embryo loss, and partly to unsuccessful fertilisation. When fertilisation fails, this can be the fault of semen transport, i.e. the sperm movement through the reproductive organs, from the time the semen was deposited and up to the uterine tubes. Whether stress affects this sperm movement is the subject of debate. Some studies suggest it has an impact, while others have found no such effects. However, it is worth emphasising, that stress, which is caused by management procedures, can possibly have a particularly significant impact on reproduction, immediately before and in association with the heifer/cow being inseminated.
Classifying the problem
All unnecessary stress up to and including insemination should be avoided. Stress can arise if the animals are chased around, when they are to be penned in for insemination, if they are separated from other cows, no access to feed and/or water or if they do not have access to a cubicle. The degree of stress depends on how many hours the entire procedure takes.
Whether you are the DIY and/or have employees who do the insemination, you should pay particular attention to when it is time for further training/education.
Points for action plan
Review separation procedures and conditions in the separation section.
- Heifers / cows are treated with care and attention up to and during insemination
- Heifers / cows must not be isolated from the herd
- Heifers / cows should have access to feed, water and a cubicle during separation