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Timed Artificial Insemination. (TAI)

When we decided to breed for polled Oberhasli, we knew that finding diverse bloodlines was going to be a problem. In fact all the registered Purebred Obehasli in the USA can be traced back to 6 animals. Although the American Oberhasli is not pure to its Swiss Alpine roots it is true to the Swiss intent for the Oberhasli-Brenzer type. Swiss history tell us that when an issue occurred a new buck would be introduced. Many times they were simply a polled buck from another part of Switzerland or imported French Alpine semen, but it may have been a horned Bundner type buck. New lineage was necessary to preserve and continue improvement of this unique population.

The American Oberhasli has quickly improved due in no small part to the influence of other breeds. Here is a quote from Past OBA President Ruth McCormick that says it better than I can. “The official opinion of the OBA in the early years was that the American upgrading programs in herds throughout the country would save and improve the breed. That was largely true. By using superior animals of other breeds, notably chamoisee Alpines, the resulting offspring benefited from hybrid vigor. The many successful American Oberhasli breeding programs offer a wide gene pool to Oberhasli breeders today.

Being located in Oregon means less animals available to choose from that are affordable after shipping is added in. Semen is less expensive to ship than goats and makes bucks available that are no longer available.  Other advantages are:     

1) It eliminates the necessity of keeping one or several bucks on the farm (depending on herd size). Costs of feeding, housing, separate fencing and labor are eliminated.

2) AI can increase the rate of genetic improvement in an herd, as long as superior bucks are consistently selected. In natural service, the prospective breeder has only the buck's pedigree to rely on, whereas AI bucks may be progeny tested for their transmitting ability of milk and fat percentage, weight gain, type conformation, etc.

3) AI allows breeding of different portions of the herd to different bucks. Young does may be bred to not yet proven but high potential bucks, while the majority of the herd can be bred to proven high quality bucks.

4) No long drives to top bucks are involved.

5) The danger of transmission of diseases or parasites is greatly reduced. (The transmission of diseases through frozen semen needs further study.)

6) The time of breeding can be more carefully regulated, and the owner knows exactly when the doe was bred, as opposed to pasture servicing by a buck that is allowed to run with the herd.

7) AI induces good record keeping of dates of heat, breeding, pedigrees, etc. This will aid in herd improvements and enable making better culling decisions.

In my efforts to learn how to do AI I contacted the Oregon State University Veterinary Department. In my discussion they recommended that I do Timed AI. Timed AI adds the benefit of scheduling breeding and of breeding many does on one day. Upon further research it appears to be as good as if not better than the normal heat checking method. I have therefore decided to use this method.

To help keep me on schedule I had the Breeding/Kidding sheet provided by Fias Co Farm modified to track both normal and timed AI. I contacted Fias Co Farm for permission and for approval of the modified version. Like Fias Co Farm the modified spreadsheet is available free. To download TAI breeding Excell spreadsheet, Click on this link. For details on doing the TAI look on the spreadsheet information page(sheet). If you do TAI please email us your results. We will track and share results.