Captive breeding of non-domestic birds has increased dramatically in this century, and production of young often exceeds that of the same number of birds in their native habitat. However, when infertility is a problem, artificial insemination can be a useful method to improve production. Artificial insemination programs with non-domestic birds are relatively recent, but several notable successes have been documented, especially with cranes and raptors. Three methods of artificial insemination are described--cooperative, massage, and electroejaculation. Cooperative artificial insemination requires training of birds imprinted on man and is used extensively in some raptor programs. The massage technique generally is used when there are larger numbers of birds to inseminate since it requires less training of the birds than with the cooperative method, and a larger number of attempted semen collections are successful. Although the best samples are obtained from birds conditioned to capture and handling procedures associated with the massage method, samples can be obtained from wild birds. Semen collection and insemination for the crane serves to illustrate some of the modifications necessary to compensate for anatomical variations. Collection of semen by electrical stimulation is not commonly used in birds. Unlike the other two methods which require behavioral cooperation by the bird, electroejaculation is possible in reproductively active birds without prior conditioning when properly restrained. Fertility from artificial insemination in captive non-domestic-birds has been good. Although some spermatozoal morphology has been reported, most aspects of morphology are not useful in predicting fertility. However, spermatozoal head length in the crane may have a positive correlation with fertility. Nevertheless, insemination with the largest number of live spermatozoa is still the best guarantee of fertile egg production.
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Artificial insemination for breeding non-domestic birds