Artificial insemination technology for ratites: a review

Irek Malecki, P.K. Rybnik, Graeme Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In ratite farming, the low male to female ratio in the mating system restricts genetic improvement and prevents reduction of the number of males kept on-farm for fertilisation of the female flock. These issues can be overcome and the industry can better realise its potential by using artificial insemination (AI) technology. It is the only practical method for intensive genetic improvement of reproduction and the production of eggs, chicks, oil, meat and leather. For AI to be feasible, we need reliable methods for semen collection, artificial insemination, prolonged storage of spermatozoa in the female tract, high rates of lay, efficient protocols for semen storage, and a panel of quantitative methods for measuring true fertility and hatchability, sperm supply rates in vivo and sperm viability in vitro. For both emus and ostriches, prolonged sperm storage in females has already been demonstrated. Methods for semen collection and artificial insemination, using animal-friendly techniques, have also been developed. Semen storage and cryopreservation protocols are yet to be optimised and we still need to overcome the male-dependent rate of lay, but adoption of AI technology by the ratite industries is now feasible. It also seems likely that these technologies will be relevant to wild ratites that need intensive conservation efforts, such as cassowaries, rheas and ostrich subspecies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1284-1292
JournalAustralian Journal of Experimental Agriculture
Volume48
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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