Proper Gun Loading Procedures are Important when
Using 1/4 cc Semen Straws
By Sarah Thorson, Beef Education Manager, Genex
Genex is transitioning the semen straw packaging from the ½ cc size to the ¼ cc size. This new straw package size comes with exciting benefits for fertility of semen. Research conducted by Genex staff shows ¼ cc semen straws result in increased pregnancies compared to the standard ½ cc straw. Conception rates for the ¼ cc straws were 2.1 percent higher.
Along with this increased fertility, the ¼ cc straw package has allowed Genex to transition to 10 straws in the bottom goblet on a cane of semen versus five on top and five on the bottom with the ½ cc straw size. This new way of packaging and storing semen has fertility advantages on its own. By holding all 10 straws on the bottom goblet, there is less chance of damaging semen while removing straws of semen from the tank as the whole cane is held lower in the tank's neck tube where the temperature is much cooler.
It is important to recognize gun loading procedures for ¼ cc straws are different and should be followed to optimize performance of the new package size. We have developed a set of protocols that should be used when loading the ¼ cc straw into either a universal artificial insemination (A.I.) gun or ¼ cc A.I. gun.
When removing the ¼ cc straw from the semen tank it is important to always use tweezers. (Tweezers designed specifically for ½ cc straws may not work effectively with ¼ cc straws; ask your local Genex representative about tweezers for ¼ cc straws.)
To Properly Load Universal or ¼ cc Guns:
1. Pull the plunger of the gun back six to seven inches.
2 . Place the straw directly into the barrel of the gun with the plugged end in the gun and the crimped end sticking out.
3. Give the straw a quarter turn to ensure it is properly seated in the gun.
4. Use a clean scissors to cut through the air space below the crimped end of the straw. Keep in mind ½ cc and ¼ cc straws are cut differently. For ½ cc straws, cut at a slight angle. For ¼ cc straws, cut straight across.
5. Secure the cut end of the straw into the insert of the sheath.
a. For the All-2-MateTM O-ring gun use the split sheath with the green insert.
b. For the All-2-MateTM spiral gun and KombiColor use the non-split sheath with blue insert.
6. To secure the straw into the sheath, place the sheath over the gun and straw. Pinch lightly above the insert and apply pressure until you feel the straw lock into place inside the guide cup. Seating the straw into the insert assures the semen cannot run back into the sheath during deposition.
7. Finally, secure the sheath onto the gun.
a. To secure the sheath onto the spiral gun, pull the sheath down over the barrel of the gun until the end of the sheath touches the spirals on the gun and the insert is near the end of the sheath (Figure 1). Screw the sheath onto the spirals at the base of the gun until you meet resistance (Figure 2). The end of the insert should now be into the tip of the sheath (Figure 3).
b. To secure the sheath onto the O-ring gun, slide the sheath down the barrel of the gun and push the O-ring up (Figure 4). Slide the sheath beneath it and slide the O-ring down the barrel of the gun until it is held firmly in place over the top of the sheath (Figure 5). Then give the O-ring a slight twist to lock into place.
c. To secure the sheath on the KombiColor gun, simply slide the sheath down the barrel of the gun until the guide cup comes to the end of the sheath. There is a lip on the base of the KombiColor gun (shown in Figure 6) that holds the sheath in place (Figure 7). These guns are designed to be loaded in this manner.
By using the proper techniques, you will reap the rewards of the ¼ cc package size. If you have any questions about these procedures, please do not hesitate to contact your local Genex representative. They are confident in the advantages of the ¼ cc straw and want to help you realize the potential to improve conception rates on your dairy. Good luck and happy A.I.ing.
posted April 2009