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Studies of Al and cryopreservation of semen from nondomestic birds began because of the increased emphasis on conservation of avian species threatened with extinction. Over the years, aviculturists have developed techniques for Al and cryopreservation of semen obtained from a variety of birds ranging from passerines to Andean condors. Generally, for each new species, we develop a practical semen collection technique and then evaluate the semen. A commercial semen extender (Beltsville Poultry Semen Extender) is modified and used to dilute the semen and provide support for the sperm during the freezing process (the pH and osmolality of the extender is adjusted to reflect the pH and osmolality of the semen being frozen). We find that the freezing schedule developed by Sexton (1977), which utilizes dimethylsulfoxide (DMS0) as cryoprotectant, works well for many species. We cool the sample sequentially in an ethanol bath, in liquid nitrogen vapor, and lastly in liquid nitrogen. Although we have experimented with a variety of freezing protocols, we prefer a 15-min equilibration period in DMSO at 5 C. We begin the freezing process by cooling at -1 C/min from 5 to -20 C in the ethanol bath. The samples are transferred into a vapor tank at a location just above liquid nitrogen and frozen at -50 C/min to -80 C. To complete the freezing process, the samples are plunged into the liquid nitrogen in the bottom of the vapor tank. The samples remain in liquid nitrogen until they are thawed just before insemination. If necessary, the freezing equipment can be transported in a van to remote locations.
Additional Publication Details
Artificial insemination and cryopreservation of semen from nondomestic birds