The artificial insemination of animals
Methods of breeding animals
There are methods of breeding animals like cow and buffalo; natural and artificial. The natural method of breeding involves the cross – breeding of the indigenous cows (desi cows) with the bulls high milk yielding, foreign breeds by the mating process. In other words, in the traditional method of breeding, the indigenous cow is mated with the bull of high milk yielding foreign breed during the high fertility period of the cow ( or heat period of the cow). The artificial breeding involves the collection of the semen of a bull of high milk yielding breed, and impregnating the cow by injection of this semen. This process is called artificial insemination.
The various characteristics of the parent animals which should to taken into consideration for animal breeding are their -1) lactation period, 2) reproductive period, 3) natural requirements, 4) resistance to diseases, 5) tolerance of climatic conditions, 6) yields, 7) proper age for reproduction, 8) good health, 9) general appearance, and 10) size and configuration. For cross – breeding programme of animals, the selection of appropriate parents is the most important factor.
The most important use of artificial insemination has been in producing high milk yielding breeds of milch animals like cows and buffaloes. It has breed used to produce high egg and meat yielding breeds of poultry birds.
The first experiment in artificial insemination was performed in the year 1780 by Spallanzani to obtain pups (young ones of dog) through this method.
The process in which the stored semen of a desired male animal is introduced into the genital tract of a selected female animal by the use of suitable instruments, for carrying out reproduction to obtain a better breed of the animal, is called artificial insemination. The process of artificial insemination brings about genetic improvement of an animal. Artificial insemination is widely being used to improve the quality of animals like cow, buffalo, horse, pig, dog, etc.
In other words, artificial insemination is a method to produce improved, high yielding breeds of domestic animals and dairy cattle like cow and buffalo. The artificial insemination of indigenous cows (desi cows) to get high milk yielding breeds of cow be done as follows.
The semen from a healthy and tough bull of the high milk yielding breed is collected and preserved by freezing or chemical methods. This preserved semen is then injected artificially into the genital tract of the chosen cow during its maximum fertility period (or heat period). Normal reproduction process then takes place and the daughter cow thus obtained will be a hybrid breed and it will give a high milk yield in due course of time. Artificial insemination, that is, transference of stored semen to female animals artificially is the most important aspect of animal husbandry.
Artificial insemination is a more reliable method of animal breeding than the natural method. Moreover, the preserved semen from a single desired bull can be transported to distant places and can be utilised to fertilise (impregnate a much more number of cows than done by the natural method. There are artificial insemination centres in our country which maintain good breeds of bulls. This technique is becoming very popular because it helps in obtaining an animal having the desired set of characteristics like higher milk yield, higher resistance to diseases and longer life span. Methods have been developed for artificial insemination cows, buffaloes, sheep, goats, pigs, mares, bitches, cats and poultry birds (hens).