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  • General
  • Embryo Transfer
  • LAI
  • Frozen Semen
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  • 1. Where are you located?
     

    Our physical address is 2590 North 500 East, Lebanon, IN 46052. We are 5 miles east of Lebanon, IN and 40 minutes northwest of downtown Indianapolis.

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  • 2. How long have you been doing LAI and ET work?
     

    While RSG officially started in July 2012, Dr. Thompson has been providing reproduction services to the sheep and goat industry through JVC Genetics since 2006. He started working on the techniques needed to breed ewes and goats early in veterinary school. Before graduating from Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Thompson spent 2 months in Australia learning from the best in the reproduction business. The mentoring relationship established while working for Dr. Dave Osborn of AllStock Genetics in NSW, Australia is still strong today. Dr. Osborn has over 30 years of experience and has been a valuable addition to our buisness.

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  • 3. Do you travel to client farms for work?
     

    Yes, we currently have host sites at various locations across the US. We do both LAI and ET work on client farms. If you have an interest in what it takes to be a host site for RSG please call the office for more information.

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  • 4. Do you offer “In House” programming for ewes/does?
     

    In House programming is the process of bringing a client’s donor and/or recipients to RSG prior to their scheduled date so that the work of preparing the ewes or does is done by our staff instead of the owner. This benefits our clients who are not close enough to our host sites or lack to time and ability to set up their donors with the best possible results. We offer programming only for our clients doing ET work. Call the office for details and pricing. Refer to the FAQ on both the ET and LAI pages for specific details on programming your ewes for success.

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  • 5. How far away from RSG can I be and still haul in the day of my procedure?
     

    We have breeders that haul to us the day of the procedure from as much as 5 hours away. RSG has found that the “At Home” synchronizing of females for both ET and LAI work has several advantages IF the attention for detail is held to a high standard. The ability for donors, recips, and LAI females to leave and return to their own pen the same day has proven to be a very successful way to minimize stress during a very delicate time in the program.

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  • 6. How many animals do I need to participate in the various breeding programming?
     

    You just need 1 ewe/doe to utilize the breeding services we offer. If you are within 5 hours of any breeding location you can haul into us either in central Indiana or one of several host sites in both in Indiana and other states where we are set up for the day. For more information on host sites call the office.

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  • 7. When is the best time to schedule my ewes/does for breeding work?
     

    The earlier you call us ahead of the breeding season, the better chance you have to get your animals bred when you want. Because our lamb/goat show industry is seasonal for breeding and lambing it is more important every year to plan ahead for the breeding work you want done. Basically, CALL NOW, we schedule 12 months in advance!

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  • 8. Can I purchase my synchronization products from RSG?
     

    Yes, we always carry PG600, CIDRs, Estrumate and Folltropin V.

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  • 9. What is the most common detail missed by producers when following your protocol?
     

    The biggest problem we see is that people don’t take their ewes off feed and water when they are instructed. The protocol for both LAI and ET calls for the ewes being bred or having surgery to be off feed AND water for 24 hours ahead of the procedure. It is important to follow this detail to both help position the rumen out of the way for the procedure as well as limit the risk of her aspirating regurgitated fluid/debris and bowel puncture. The rumen is a large container of feed and water so the reservoir needs emptying. There is a reason human doctors ask for the same thing before their surgeries.

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  • 10. What makes Reproduction Specialty Group different from others who provide these same breeding services?
     

    The Veterinarians at RSG have more than 40 years of combined sheep experience. Those of us on the team at RSG bring our clients results through an organized process that starts with a 1 on 1 conversation about your goals. We can then put in place the best pathway for you to reach the goals you have set. From planning, to protocol, to procedure, to results- we strive to help each client maximize their genetic return on their investment.

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  • 11. Which type of semen is generally expected to perform better?
     

    Expectations of good quality frozen semen are less than that of good quality fresh semen. In general we see decreased fertilization rates in both LAI and embryo transfer programs using frozen semen.

     

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  • 12. How does RSG recommend shipping/transporting frozen semen?
     

    Semen can be easily shipped through the use of a dry liquid nitrogen tank or dry shipper. Movement of frozen semen straws from one cane to another should be done under liquid nitrogen to ensure semen quality is not damaged due to changes in temperatures. These containers are filled with liquid nitrogen or charged. The liquid nitrogen is absorbed into the linear of the tank keeping it cold without having free liquid in the tank. These tanks are then transported typically via UPS or FedEx

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  • 1. Can I purchase my synchronization products from RSG?
     

    Yes, we always carry PG600, CIDRs, Estrumate and Folltropin V.

    More
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  • 2. What is the most common detail missed by producers when following your protocol?
     

    The biggest problem we see is that people don’t take their ewes off feed and water when they are instructed. The protocol for both LAI and ET calls for the ewes being bred or having surgery to be off feed AND water for 24 hours ahead of the procedure. It is important to follow this detail to both help position the rumen out of the way for the procedure as well as limit the risk of her aspirating regurgitated fluid/debris and bowel puncture. The rumen is a large container of feed and water so the reservoir needs emptying. There is a reason human doctors ask for the same thing before their surgeries.

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  • 3. What makes Reproduction Specialty Group different from others who provide these same breeding services?
     

    The Veterinarians at RSG have more than 40 years of combined sheep experience. Those of us on the team at RSG bring our clients results through an organized process that starts with a 1 on 1 conversation about your goals. We can then put in place the best pathway for you to reach the goals you have set. From planning, to protocol, to procedure, to results- we strive to help each client maximize their genetic return on their investment.

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  • 4. What is a “Donor” ewe/doe?
     

    A donor ewe/doe is a female that is given superovulation drugs before she is bred to make her produce more eggs when she ovulates. That ewe/doe is bred and 6 days later the eggs are surgically “flushed” out of the horns of the uterus. Those embryos are graded and washed after being recovered from the donor and then inserted into a recipient ewe/doe.

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  • 5. What is a “Recipient” ewe/doe?
     

    A recipient female, or "recip" for short, is a mature, proven female that is programmed to receive 6 day old fertilized embryos. These recipients are evaluated by the veterinarian doing the procedure before the transfers to make sure their ovaries and uterus are at the correct stage to accept those embryos.

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  • 6. Why use Embryo Transfer in my flock?
     
    • Embryo transfer procedures allow producers to maximize those females that produce the best lambs/kids either for retention into the flock or for sale to other producers.
    • ET also allows producers to continue to utilize a ewe/doe that may not physically be able to carry or feed a set of lambs.
    • ET can allow a producer to grow his flock quickly with above average individuals of similar bloodlines.
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  • 7. What are the average success rates in Embryo Transfer in terms of embryos recovered?
     
    • Each breed will respond differently to the ET process.  Typically white faced ewes and does are more fertile than black faced ewes.  We will see a range of zero to the mid 20’s in terms of viable embryos recovered from a flush procedure.   Through the course of a year we will average 6.8 transferrable eggs per donor with a 75% conception rate for those eggs.  
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  • 8. Can I do ET work on an older ewe or doe that didn’t breed last year?
     

    Our ideal donors will be in their “Prime Years” of production, meaning they will have had at least one set of lambs but not be older than 5-6.  We can and will do ET work on older or “problem breeders” but they are more challenging to have a successful program with.  If that ewe/doe is not going to breed easily naturally for whatever reason, she may not respond favorably in an ET program. 

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  • 9. Can I flush a yearling ewe or ewe lamb?
     

    Physiologically yes, we can do the surgical procedure on a yearling ewe or ewe lamb.  However, we don’t recommend it, you will not have the same success rate as you will with a ewe that has lambed at least once.  These individuals usually do not produce as many transferrable embryos as mature females will.   We also see lower transfer rates on eggs from a younger ewe.  If those females do respond to the program adequately, typically their eggs will not transfer with as high of conception rate as your typical flock.   Basically, you can do the procedures, but your risk in having an unsuccessful program is much higher.  We suggest that you invest in females 2-5 years of age to achieve the BEST results possible.   Success with young does is much more common than young ewes.  As they are a different species, goats follow a different pattern of reproductive efficiency. 

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  • 10. Dyou recommend fresh or frozen semen for my ET work?
     

    We recommend fresh semen over frozen. Fresh semen lives longer and yields better fertilization rates than frozen semen. Fresh semen can be collected from the ram of choice the day of the breeding, either by jumping a tease ewe and using an AV, or by the use of an electroejaculator.

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  • 11. Can I breed to frozen semen?
     
    • Yes, you can breed to frozen semen for ET work.  HOWEVER, there are several things to keep in mind when making that decision:
      • When we breed ewes to frozen semen for ET work, we breed them twice.  We will breed that donor first thing in the morning and again late in the afternoon.  The reason for that is that frozen semen does not live as long as fresh.  Fresh semen donors get bred once in the morning and don’t get touched again.  Putting that ewe on the cradle twice is more stress on her and makes her and your day longer. 
      • If you are using frozen semen for any kind of reproduction work you MUST know what quality it is, please look at our section on “Questions to Ask About Frozen Semen.”   Average quality frozen semen does NOT work for good ET results. 
      • We require a minimum of 50 million post thaw live rate with a minimum velocity of 4+.  Look at our frozen semen information page for more information on what that means.
      • Remember, don’t compromise on semen quality, unfertilized embryos are no good and fill up the trash can!
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  • 12. Should I have a backup plan for semen?
     

    YES! Put a backup plan in place and hopefully you won’t have to use it.

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  • 13. How many recipients do you recommend?
     

    We like to see 5 recip ewes per donor.

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  • 14. What kind of recip ewe are most people using?
     
    • That varies quite a bit between producers, but we see the best results using a proven white face recipient ewe.    You want to use a ewe that you know will breed easily out of season, will cycle when you want to put those eggs into her, will be a good mother, and will milk well.  Ewes with bag problems, foot issues or other physical ailments are not good candidates.  Those fertilized embryos represent a lot of work and investment on your part, don’t short yourself on the quality of the recipient ewe you put them into.
    • Recipient does are much the same as ewes in that you want to use a doe that has been proven and who breeds out of season. Look for good mothering traits and one who milks well.
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  • 15. hat time of year does most of the ET work happen?
     

    Most of the ET work begins in August however we are doing various ET work year round for various markets. Breeders have to keep in mind that you are programming these ewes to breed and produce more embryos than normal. If your ewes aren’t cycling naturally when you want to do the work, it will not be as successful. For blackface wether ewes we see August being adequate in scheduling.

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  • 16. How often can you flush a donor?
     

    We allow for 6 weeks between ET surgeries to allow for the donor ewe’s body to heal. For example, if we flush a ewe in late August, we can repeat her in mid-October, and again around the 1st of December. We also run programs out of the normal breeding season, such as in February, where most of the embryos are flushed and frozen for future use.

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  • 17. What is the most common detail missed by producers when following your protocol?
     

    The biggest problem we see is that people don’t take their ewes off feed and water when they are instructed. The protocol for both LAI and ET calls for the ewes being bred or having surgery to be off feed AND water for 24 hours ahead of the procedure. It is important to follow this detail to both help position the rumen out of the way for the procedure as well as limit the risk of her aspirating regurgitated fluid/debris and bowel puncture. The rumen is a large container of feed and water so the reservoir needs to be emptied. There is a reason that human doctors ask for the same thing before their surgeries.

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  • 1. Can I purchase my synchronization products from RSG?
     

    Yes, we always carry PG600, CIDRs, Estrumate and Folltropin V.

    More
    Was this answer helpful ? Yes(4) / No(0)
    Viewed 617 Times 5 Comments
  • 2. What is the most common detail missed by producers when following your protocol?
     

    The biggest problem we see is that people don’t take their ewes off feed and water when they are instructed. The protocol for both LAI and ET calls for the ewes being bred or having surgery to be off feed AND water for 24 hours ahead of the procedure. It is important to follow this detail to both help position the rumen out of the way for the procedure as well as limit the risk of her aspirating regurgitated fluid/debris and bowel puncture. The rumen is a large container of feed and water so the reservoir needs emptying. There is a reason human doctors ask for the same thing before their surgeries.

    More
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  • 3. What makes Reproduction Specialty Group different from others who provide these same breeding services?
     

    The Veterinarians at RSG have more than 40 years of combined sheep experience. Those of us on the team at RSG bring our clients results through an organized process that starts with a 1 on 1 conversation about your goals. We can then put in place the best pathway for you to reach the goals you have set. From planning, to protocol, to procedure, to results- we strive to help each client maximize their genetic return on their investment.

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  • 4. Why use LAI in my flock?
     
    • Do you want or need a tighter lambing window, either for ease of shepherding or for a desired age of lamb/kid to market?
    •  Do you have a partnership ram/buck that multiple flocks need to utilize in a short period of time?
    •  Do you have a young ram/buck that would not be capable of covering the number of females you would like to breed him to within a certain time frame?
    •  Do you want access to genetics, through ram or buck syndications, not previously available from flocks across the country?
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  • 5. What are the average success rates in LAI with fresh semen?
     

    Over the course of the year we will average around 74% conception rate with fresh semen. This is semen collected from the ram on the day of insemination. This is the most common choice of clients to maximize their use of their herd sire. Many rams that are owned in partnership are collected here the day of breeding and utilized by two or more clients as a way to allow all partners to capitalize on the same window of time.

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  • 6. What are the average success rates in LAI with frozen semen?
     

    Throughout the year we will average around 68% conception rate with frozen semen. The huge factor in this is the quality of the semen being used. Dr. Thompson evaluates the semen post-thaw to confirm its viability prior to insemination. If you are considering purchasing frozen semen please check out our article: “Questions to Ask About Frozen Semen.”

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  • 7. Is there an ideal female age for LAI?
     

    We have found that females really need to have had at least one set of offspring and should be in their “Prime Years” of production. Yearling ewes as well as older ewes/does or “problem breeders” are more challenging to have good success in an LAI program.

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  • 1. What makes Reproduction Specialty Group different from others who provide these same breeding services?
     

    The Veterinarians at RSG have more than 40 years of combined sheep experience. Those of us on the team at RSG bring our clients results through an organized process that starts with a 1 on 1 conversation about your goals. We can then put in place the best pathway for you to reach the goals you have set. From planning, to protocol, to procedure, to results- we strive to help each client maximize their genetic return on their investment.

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  • 2. What are the average success rates in LAI with frozen semen?
     

    Throughout the year we will average around 68% conception rate with frozen semen. The huge factor in this is the quality of the semen being used. Dr. Thompson evaluates the semen post-thaw to confirm its viability prior to insemination. If you are considering purchasing frozen semen please check out our article: “Questions to Ask About Frozen Semen.”

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  • 3. How does RSG handle packaging of frozen semen?
     
    • Packaging: Straws vs. Pellets
      • Semen straws are either ¼ ml or ½ ml by volume and semen pellets are approximately ¼ ml volume.
      • Semen straws offer the benefit of clearly labeled individual packages versus the pellet which is contained inside of a tube with the labeling being on the container. The goal is to have a minimum of 30 million progressively motile sperm cells per LAI insemination or 50 million progressively motile sperm for ET post-thaw.

    Both methods can result in good quality semen.

    • Concentration is the number of sperm cells packaged in the straw. The goal is to have 30 million progressively motile sperm cells per insemination post thaw. The pre-freeze concentration is of less value knowing since we are using semen based on the post thaw evaluation.
    • Sperm cell motility is simply the ability of the cell to maintain motion. Caution must be used in evaluating motion of sperm cells as they can have motility, however it must be linear progressive motility (moving in a straight line). Pre-freeze motility is not important as we are using semen after it is thawed. So clearly post thaw linear progressive numbers are what you need to know. In our practice semen thawed with post thaw motility under 60% is discarded and the ram should be refrozen.
    • Velocity is simply how fast the sperm cells are moving, rated on a scale of 0 to 5. Anything under 3 is not acceptable.
    • Morphology is the appearance of the structure of the sperm cells. Sperm cells have three main segments the head, mid-piece, and the tail. Abnormalities of any one of these segments will affect the quality of the frozen product as well as the fertilization rate.
    • Minimum standards: In summary an ideal frozen semen product needs to be ¼ ml in volume, 60% or greater of the sample having linear progression equaling a minimum of 30 to 50 million sperm cells with a velocity of +4.
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  • 4. Which type of semen is generally expected to perform better?
     

    Expectations of good quality frozen semen are less than that of good quality fresh semen. In general we see decreased fertilization rates in both LAI and embryo transfer programs using frozen semen.

     

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  • 5. How does RSG recommend shipping/transporting frozen semen?
     

    Semen can be easily shipped through the use of a dry liquid nitrogen tank or dry shipper. Movement of frozen semen straws from one cane to another should be done under liquid nitrogen to ensure semen quality is not damaged due to changes in temperatures. These containers are filled with liquid nitrogen or charged. The liquid nitrogen is absorbed into the linear of the tank keeping it cold without having free liquid in the tank. These tanks are then transported typically via UPS or FedEx

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