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28-10-2009 - Artificial Insemination in Poultry

Artificial Insemination in Poultry


Department of Pathology, University of Agriculture Faisalabad

Artificial Insemination (“AI”) is the process by which semen from male bird is collected and then introduced to females for the purpose of fertilizing eggs. The main Objectives of artificial insemination in poultry are a). To place the required dose of semen into the oviduct of the female so that it is deposited near the sperm storage glands and b). To carry out the AI process with due regard to the best health and welfare of the breeder females thereby achieving the highest fertility levels possible.

Biologically, after deposition of semen in the oviduct the semen will enter the sperm storage gland, situated at the junction of the vagina and the shell gland and from here the spermatozoa will make their way up the oviduct to a second storage site situated at the junction of the magnum and infundibulum. The passage of an ovum into the infundibulum stimulates spermatozoa activity and fertilization of the ovum by one sperm takes place.

Why we do AI????

Increased mating ratio:

In a flock usually one cockerel mated to six to ten hens.

With artificial insemination it is claimed this ratio could be increased four fold.

Depends on the strain and breed of the birds.

Use of older males with outstanding performance:

Older male birds that have been flock improvers can be used for several generations. Whereas under natural mating their useful life is limited.

Able to use an injured bird:

Valuable male birds that have been injured in the leg can still be used for artificial insemination.

Successful cross breeding:

Very successful under natural conditions but some times there is a kind of color discrimination:

Some hens will not mate with a male of a different colour unless they have been reared together.

In AI cross breeding is quite easy and successful

Recommended Housing of the Male

Should be housed in individual cages

Suggested cage size is 45 cm wide, 60 cm deep and 60 cm high.

The feed and water containers should be hung on the outside of the cage.

Male birds respond to the people handling them and a quiet, unhurried approach is necessary with careful handling.

During the collection of semen, it is essential that visitors remain outside the shed. This will prevent the birds from becoming frightened.

Should be in close proximity to hens so that time b/w collection and insemination is minimum

Examination of selected birds for external parasites before collection

Feathers around vent plucked out for easy handling

(Particularly to loose-feathered breeds of poultry)

Semen Collection.

Two people needed

(One for handling, vent opening and other for collection of semen)

The person collecting the semen sits on a stool and holds the male on his lap

He or she stimulates the male by stroking his back from the middle towards the tail, while at the same time stroking the abdomen towards the vent with the other hand. After doing this several times, with the help of thumb and the index finger of the right hand massage the pubic bones lightly. This causes the male to extrude the phallus and, if the bird is producing semen, results in ejaculation.

Second person for collection of semen

Negative pressure is created and semen comes in tube

Males in their second breeding season are more likely to produce semen than young males in the first breeding season


Only one straw must be used per hen. This should then be disposed of to prevent the spread of diseases between females

For insemination, pressure is applied to the left side of the abdomen around the vent. This causes the cloaca to evert and the oviduct to protrude so that a syringe or plastic straw can be inserted into the oviduct and the appropriate amount of semen delivered.

As the semen is expelled by the inseminator, pressure around the vent is released, which assists the hen in retaining sperm in the vagina or the oviduct.

Due to the high sperm concentration of turkey semen, 0.025 mL (~2 billion spermatozoa) of undiluted pooled semen, inseminated at regular intervals of 10-14 days, yields optimal fertility.

In chickens, due to the lower spermatozoon concentration and shorter duration of fertility, 0.05 mL of undiluted pooled semen, at intervals of 7 days, is required.

Under experimental conditions, fertility levels of 90% have been obtained in hens inseminated at 3-day intervals with 400-500 million frozen-thawed chicken spermatozoa.

Regularity of Insemination

Inseminations should be carried out on two consecutive days the first week and then once each week thereafter while fertile eggs are required.

As poultry semen has a very limited life insemination of hens should be completed within one hour of semen collection.

Should be done during afternoon

During the morning, most hens have an egg in the oviduct, thus obstructing the free passage of semen to the ovary.

Eggs are fertile after the second day of insemination and can remain fertile for two weeks or more.

If another male is to be used on the same hen in a breeding program, it is suggested that a period of three weeks elapse before the second male is used.

Sample of the semen be examined under a microscope to check sperm motility if large number of males are to be used

Equipments Required

AI gun

Tube for collection of semen


Plastic straws

Tube for sucking semen


Using the Diluent

In order to increase the number of hens that can be inseminated from the same rooster, the semen maybe diluted with a solution known as modified Ringer's solution.

Composition of Diluent

Sodium chloride 68 grams

Potassium chloride 17.33 grams

Calcium chloride 6.4 2 grams

Magnesium sulphate 2.50 grams

Sodium bicarbonate 24.50 grams

Distilled water 10 000 cc

In turkeys

Volume (average) 0.35-0.5 mL, with a spermatozoon concentration of 6 to >8 billion/mL.

In Chicken

Volume is 2-3 times that of turkeys, but the concentration is about one-half.

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