Small Ruminant Embryo Collection
SVF’s small ruminant embryo collection is performed within the typical breeding season of September to March. Females are reproductively synchronized with typical breeding protocols to increase success. Sheep and goats are bred naturally and embryos are collected six to seven days after breeding.
Embryos from ewes and does are collected in the SVF clinic each week. Tufts’ fourth-year veterinary students assist in the procedures. Prior to collection, the female’s response to the super-ovulation is assessed laparoscopically. Embryos are then flushed from the uterus using standard protocols. Each animal is monitored carefully during recovery and is back on pasture, with its flock, within three days.
Bovine Embryo Collection
Bovine embryo collection similarly begins with synchronization of the cow’s reproductive cycle. This is done to accurately time artificial insemination and results in a greater potential yield of embryos. Unlike embryo collection in small ruminants, bovine collection is handled in our main barn, with the cow standing in a chute. The veterinarian gives an epidural and flushes embryos from the uterus using standard procedures.
Small Ruminant Semen Collection
Small ruminant semen collection is handled on-site at SVF during the typical breeding season of September through March. Bucks and rams are carefully selected to represent a varied genetic range within each breed. In order to attain the goal of 3,000 straws per breed, approximately 300 straws are collected from each individual.
Bovine Semen Collection
Bovine semen is either donated to or purchased by SVF or custom-collected by mobile semen collectors. Although some bulls are collected at the breeder’s farm, others are transported by SVF to a bull stud. Regardless of the method, SVF requires all bulls to pass our standard health testing.