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Training Boars for Semen Collection

Wayne Singleton
Department of Animal Sciences
Purdue University

Until newcomers to AI have trained a few boars, this seems to be one of the most difficult and frustrating steps in the AI process. Various people use different approaches in training new boars. Over time, a system is generally developed which results in success for a high percent of the rookies. Here are some guidelines.

Select a person who is patient and enjoys working with individual animals. Some of us just are not meant to be good trainers.

Begin the training process during the isolation period by building a trust between you and the boar. Spend a few minutes each day by scratching, rubbing and vocalizing with the animal.

Be aware that young boars vary in their rate of sexual development. Some 7-month-old boars are "ready" for the experience, others may require another 4 to 6 weeks.

Provide a suitable training area. A comfortable area which is clean, dry, well-lighted and free of distractions is ideal. Use of a breeding mat will provide good footing. A boar which slips during an early mounting attempt may become very shy about doing it again. Keep it relatively small (8 x 10 ft) so that the boar is focused.

If possible, collect a previously trained boar before initiating a training session for a new boar. The odor and sound may stimulate the "rookie", especially if he is located next to the collection area.

Adjust the dummy such that it is equal to or slightly lower than the boar which is being trained. Make certain that the dummy is sturdy and anchored to the floor or wall.

Plan for relatively short (15-20 minutes) training sessions. Some young boars (maybe 3-6 out of 10) will mount the dummy immediately. Others may want to explore the pen area and dummy and they may require several sessions.

Some boars require coaxing. Crouch down near the dummy, allow the boar to smell your hand and clothes, talk to him (in Pig Latin) in a reassuring tone. Straddle the dummy and continue the coaxing process. Try pouring semen from a previous collection on the dummy.

Keep the boar focused on the dummy. If needed, place winged gates, hinged on the wall at the front of the dummy.

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