How do horses breed?
Horses are wonderful creatures that have long lived with humans. Unfortunately, some species are on the verge of extinction at the moment. Breeding horses in captivity is a complex process.
Reproduction of offspring in vivo
In the wild, animals form herds consisting of one male and 10-12 females. There is one main mare in the herd, which is always a priority for the male individual when sexually occurring. The stallion protects the herd and inseminates all females.
A horse is always ready for mating, unlike females, therefore it can have sexual intercourse with mares not ready for reproducing offspring. With such intercourse, pregnancy cannot occur, but premature estrus can begin.
When the horse is ready for mating, she shows it to the male:
- the tail is raised;
- head slightly inclined;
- hind legs apart;
- she makes a quiet neigh.
In addition to these signals, the mare's smell during estrus attracts stallions even at great distances.
Breeding horses in the wild occurs at a subconscious level to reproduce their own kind. In vivo, mating lasts from early March to late July.
Farm insemination preparation
For every breeder, breeding thoroughbred horses is a priority. In captivity, the mating takes place under the vigilant supervision of the breeder. Mating should take place directly during sexual hunting with the female. The onset of this period can be recognized by the behavior of the horse.
During estrus, ovulation occurs and the released egg is ready for conception. The time of sexual hunting is 3-5 days, in which, in fact, the coating should pass.
The case in farm conditions occurs in several stages. The first stage is the selection of animals for breeding. The mare reaches puberty at the age of 3 years.
Until 3 years, it is not recommended to knit horses, because their genitals are not yet ready for the full reproduction of offspring. In addition to age, attention should be paid to the physical condition of the female. Before insemination, the stallions are examined, the seed is taken for analysis. When mating, one should take into account the purity of the pedigree, the temper of the male and female, as well as the diseases they suffered, which can affect the development of offspring in the womb.
Before mating, animals should be prepared. Preliminary preparation begins in the winter. Breeding individuals must be provided with a balanced diet. Overfeeding is not allowed to avoid excessive weight gain. Obesity has a bad effect on the gestation in females and the quality of sperm in stallions.
Mares should receive the maximum of useful vitamins and minerals that play a role in the process of gestation. All individuals prepared for mating must be hardy and physically prepared, so it is very important to ensure that the horses have enough walking and proper dressing. During this period, it is necessary to accustom males to reins, and mares to casual harnessing.
The first step is to determine the method of fertilization of the female. The most common:
In private farms, the first method is most often used. The probability of fertilization is 95%. With this method, animals breed in the same way as in their natural habitat, the breeder is only an observer. For mating it is necessary to prepare a quiet place so that the horses feel at ease. The mare is set in such a way as to provide unhindered access to the horse's genitals.
If the female has a obstinate temper, you will have to use a random harness. To protect the male, the horseshoe females should be removed from the hind limbs. Before the animals get down to business, they need to give a little time to get comfortable, sniff. Animals should feel comfortable.
Cooking and mowing methods are practiced in the herd. Cooking is carried out in the pen. The insemination stallion is left with 7 females, and he independently selects a partner for mating. After covering, the mares are returned to the herd, and the stallions are left in the stall. When he regains his strength, he can also be returned to the herd.
The kosyachny method differs in the number of female individuals in the herd. Their number is from 20 to 25. Throughout the entire period of sexual hunting, the breeding stallion is in the female herd. The photo shows the mating flirting of horses.
Artificial insemination method
On large stud farms, artificial insemination is carried out with pre-harvested seed material. Horses are selected as standard. The dose of sperm before the introduction into the vagina of the mare is diluted: this increases the efficiency of coating the females.
About 20 females can be covered with one diluted dose, and up to half a thousand during mass sexual hunting. The advantage of this method is that the breeding male is not brought to exhaustion. Sperm is collected and frozen in liquid nitrogen. Freezing allows the use of seminal fluid for a long time. Another benefit is the reduced risk of sexually transmitted infections.
The collection of seminal fluid is carried out under sterile conditions. Instead of a real female, an artificial model is slipped to the stallion. The genitals of an artificial mare are often in the form of a tube made of rubber-coated metal. Inside is a sterile disposable testis. To avoid injury, the male loins are treated with petroleum jelly and heated to the optimum temperature.
Artificial insemination of the female is carried out during estrus. Before starting to introduce sperm, the mares genitals wash and tie the tail, be sure to put on a helmet and fix the hind limbs. Using a gynecological mirror, an examination is performed and the cervix is found, into which a catheter with a dose of seminal fluid is inserted.
Another type of artificial breeding of horses is embryo transplantation. Such a process is very complicated, and only an experienced veterinarian can conduct it. This method is used to obtain the maximum number of foals from the best breeding mare.
How to determine if insemination is successful
After mating, make sure that the cover was successful. The control mating is carried out 2 weeks after the first insemination. If the first mating was successful, the female will not respond to flirting of the male. If after 3 weeks the mare's estrus started again, fertilization did not occur.
On the 18-20 day after mating, a rectal examination can be performed. Through the rectum, an examination of the uterus is performed. During pregnancy, the uterus is in tone, becomes more elastic and changes shape.
Another method for determining a horse’s pregnancy is an ultrasound scan. It is carried out after 50-70 days after mating.
In addition to the above methods, chemical methods for determining pregnancy are used. In blood tests, the level of hormones rises. Estrone sulfate will be detected in urine. You can do a urine test yourself by buying a pregnancy testing kit in the vet shop.
The period of gestation of foals lasts 11 months. Of crucial importance is a balanced diet and proper physical activity. Diet should be coarse foods and vitamin complexes. 1-2 months before birth, it is necessary to vaccinate the mare from tetanus.
Do not graze females in the morning with abundant dew or grass covered with hoarfrost. Very often there are cases when the uterus is completely aborted in wet cold pastures. A couple of weeks before birth, the amount of roughage should be reduced. The feeding regimen is frequent in small quantities. Adequate drinking is required.
Half a month before permission from pregnancy, the female should be transferred to a specially prepared paddock. It is very important to observe sterility indoors. The pen must be free to allow the animal to lie down.
Horse breeding is an important process in maintaining livestock and breeding new breeds. In captivity, breeders keep the mating of horses under control. Sexual hunting in females begins in early spring. The estrus lasts 3-5 days. During this period, coverage should pass.
Standard methods give good fertilization results. Mares may be coated singly or under conditions more close to natural when the stallion is in a herd of 7–25 mares. Large farmers use the artificial insemination method: it is more reliable and efficient. Frozen semen from one breeding horse covers up to five hundred females per season.
The onset of sexual hunting in females is determined by behavior. Horses that have reached the age of three are allowed to mate. Up to this point, animals are not able to tolerate a foal. In addition to age-related features, they look at the state of health, endurance, external data, thoroughbred, temper, past diseases that can adversely affect genetics.
The control mating is carried out 2 weeks after the first insemination. If the female does not respond to the stallion, the first mating can be considered successful. A veterinarian can confirm pregnancy during a rectal examination already 16-20 days after mating. During pregnancy, the uterus becomes elastic and changes its shape.
During gestation, it is important to provide the mare with the required amount of balanced feed. Do not overfeed the animal. A large role is played by sufficient walking in the fresh air. Before giving birth, the female is transferred to a dry, draft-protected spacious stall where the animal can lie down freely.