AI vs Live Cover? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 34 Old 06-23-2009, 10:19 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Arrow AI vs Live Cover?

OK ive always thought AI would be less expensive than a live cover, but i have done some research on it and it becomes quite pricey, what are yalls opinion?

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post #2 of 34 Old 06-23-2009, 10:28 PM
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Well ... it all depends ...

If the stallion your are breeding live cover to is just down the road, LC wins - hands down

If you are on the East Coast and he is on the West Coast, AI wins - hands down

If you have an incompetent vet and no stallion within 5 miles and you are relying on said incompetent vet to tell you when to order semen - AI is going to get very expensive, very quickly but if your vet is good and he knows what he is doing AND your mare co-operates, AI can be very cost effective

You have transport costs and board bills when you ship your mare for LC and depending on the distance involved, you may also opt to leave her there for 60 days to make sure she stays in foal once she is confirmed in foal so those costs can add up as well. Add to that Coggins and possibly Export Health papers as well, and those costs can really start to escalate

There are many pros and cons to each. It is never a simple answer as to which one will always be more or less expensive than the other ...
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post #3 of 34 Old 06-23-2009, 10:33 PM
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A.I. is wayyy better. It is so much easier on the mare, she does not have to support the weight of the stallion or the risk of her being severly injured. A.I. has a higher pregnancy rate vs. live cover. The stud cant get hurt either. A.I. is a way better choice, i did my senior project on A.I. vs live cover. A.I. is more expensive but in the long run its better. At least in my opinion.

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post #4 of 34 Old 06-23-2009, 11:26 PM
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>>>>A.I. has a higher pregnancy rate vs. live cover

OK this is very interesting to me. Please share details . What studies have you reviewed on this and within what paremeters were they conducted? What were the actual pregnancy %s for either choice? Can you share any of the references?

I have heard claims on both "sides" for each being better (as far as pregnancy rates, and/or resulting in delivery of a live foal) and I have also heard that they are about equal, given optimum conditions and practices being adhered to on both "sides".... so I would like to be armed with actual facts next time this comes up around the horse barn dinner table!

Laura Lyon
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post #5 of 34 Old 06-23-2009, 11:43 PM
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AI vs live cover - I would pick live cover. I have had 2 experiences with AI - one bad experience and one not so great. During our first breeding, bacteria was introduced into the uterus and my mare came down with a terrible infection. The pregnancy took, but somewhere along the way she developed a placental infection and we lost the foal. The second time, AI was used, they induced a heat cycle to try to get ovulation and the mare came down with colic. We do have a foal who is great. However, "easier on the mare" that is totally subjective and was NOT my experience. I think nature probably has this department perfected and live cover wins hands down.

P.S. With AI the risk of multiples goes up, risk of infection goes up, and I do not think the % of viable pregnancies actually increases with AI. Check that fact.

Good luck!
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post #6 of 34 Old 06-24-2009, 12:45 AM
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I just read an article on this from one of my old magazines.


Some advantages
- No travel required. Less stress on mare that way.
-Reduced risk of disease.
-Less risk of injury.

Some disadvantages
-Shipping costs. Very expensive, especially for multiple shipments.
-Semen mix-up.
-Potential to devalue semen and offspring. (Too easily available.)

Live Cover

Some advantages

-Access to experts.
-Ready access to stallion.
-No shipping costs.
-Less chance of a mix-up. (Easy to tell one stud from another.)

Some disadvantages

-Travel. (More stress.)
-Disease and infection. (More exposure.)

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post #7 of 34 Old 06-24-2009, 07:08 AM
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A.I. has a higher pregnancy rate vs. live cover
absolute and utter hogwash ...

AI can have a WORSE pregnancy rate if the mare reacts to the extender used, or if she has uterine clearance issues and needs to get rid of 60 or 120 ml of extended semen dumped into her, as opposed to 20-30 ml of raw unextended semen going in there via the live cover route

We are pretty well split on live cover versus AI breedings and my in house TB mares that are live covered every single year get in foal off the first covers for years in a row, and the mares we ship semen to dont always manage to have the same excellent statistics

Another one of those "Old Wives Tales" that needs to get permanently dumped on the trash heap ...
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post #8 of 34 Old 06-24-2009, 09:10 AM
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My trainer breeds her mares every year with AI, and I just bred mine AI - even though the stallion is only a half hour away. That's just the way the stallion owner's of the guys we use do it...

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post #9 of 34 Old 06-24-2009, 11:07 AM
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All the pros and cons and experiences mentioned are why I asked what the variables were in any studies comparing the conception/live foal %s of AI vs. Live Cover-- because either method is only as good/error free as the people performing all associated operations, from mare prep to teasing to vetting to breeding-- the only exception being if the mare and stallion were in a natural pasture setting and had unrestricted access to each other for a couple entire heat cycles--- no human error possible there, unless they weren't fed or fenced properly

BTW when I have allowed a stallion to live with a small herd of mares and pasture breed, I get virtually 100% conception rates-- and have very calm and content stallion and mares. I have hand bred (live cover) everything this year, as I had a new (to me) stallion and some leased mares, but I would consider managed pasture breeding again if the appropriate circumstances existed.

Laura Lyon
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post #10 of 34 Old 06-24-2009, 11:31 AM
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I like both for different reasons. They both have pro's and con's..

Alot of stallion owners (in the reining world anyways) won't do any live color on mares because they don't want to take any chances on their stallion getting injuried. Which I totally respect.
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