Artificial Insemination in Kenya
Artificial Insemination in Kenya started with the establishment of the Central Artificial Insemination Station (CAIS) in 1946 for the production of semen. Countrywide delivery of AI services since 1966 through the Kenya National Artificial Insemination Services (KNAIS) has been a major contributor to the growth of dairy farming in, Kenya.
Artificial Insemenation (AI) is the process of depositing semen in the uterus of a cow by use of equipment instead of allowing natural mating. AI is widely practiced in cattle and semen is collected from selected bulls in an hygienic environment. Two types of semen are commonly used:- Liquid or room temperature (RT)semen and Deep frozen (DF) semen – usually distributed in containers filled with liquid nitrogen which helps to keep the semen in deep frozen condition. Some years ago, the semen distribution was reorganized and privatized. CATS now distribute semen through private agents. KNAIS has become a supervisory organization to oversee private inseminators and works closely with the District Veterinary Offices. CAIS continue to produce the semen and works with international companies like WWS, ABS, Semex and HighChem (E.A. Dairy). Holland Genetics imports and distributes semen via Cooper Kenya Ltd.
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The policy of CAIS is to use cows bred from imported semen as bull mothers and take advantage from the genetic potential of imported semen for the selection of bulls for its own semen production.The Government of Kenya still maintains a few Al schemes in parts of the Rift Valley, Nyanza and Western region.
The Kenya Artiﬁcial Insemination Services Department’s vision is to be a world class referral centre for livestock breeding and training in Africa. It aims to provide an efficient, innovative and cost – effective livestock breeding and training services to the African livestock industry.
The department offers quality semen, both locally produced and imported. It also offers embryo transfer (ET) bulls, liquid nitrogen, all Artiﬁcial Insemination equipment, multi – ovulation embryo transfer (MOET) services, Artificial Insemination and Business skills certificate course, crop and livestock production refresher course, short courses in animal nutrition, feeds and feeding management and land utilisation and crop protection.
Artificial Insemination in Kenya – Benefits of AI Services
- Allows the farmer to select semen for performance e.g. for milk production, and improved physical features.
- One bull can be used to inseminate many cows.
- Semen can be removed and stored even after a bull dies.
- It is easy to transport semen than the cows to the bulls.
- AI controls the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
- Selective breeding is possible
Artificial Insemination in Kenya – Steps involved for a successful AI Service
- Selection of the bulls
- Semen extraction from the bulls
- Semen processing and storage
- Semen transportation to the farms
- Actual insemination
Artificial Insemination in Kenya – Requirements for successful AI Service
- Appropriate equipment
- Trained AI technicians who have to follow all the recommended semen handling steps strictly
- Proper knowledge of the signs that indicate when an animal should be served
- Keeping of proper records to avoid inbreeding.
- Reliable infrastructure for effective semen transport
Artificial Insemination in Kenya – Insemination and Conception
Animals detected to be on heat in the morning are inseminated in the afternoon and those detected
in the afternoon or evening inseminated the following morning, i.e. 10 – 12 hours later. Once a
cow is presented for insemination:-
- The area around the vulva should be clean, with no dirt and/or foul/smelly discharge
- The inseminated animal should be allowed to rest for about 30 minutes, to avoid semen flowing out
- The animal should be well fed so as to maintain a good body condition
Artificial Insemination in Kenya – Breeds Used in Insemination
In Kenya, semen used is obtained locally (from CAIS) and imported from other countries. The local semen from CAIS is obtained from all common dairy breeds in the country e.g. Friesian; Guernsey; Ayrshire and Jersey. Locally, breed semen used can be identified through the number code on the straw or on the AI ticket. Each bull has its own unique number usually made up by 2 or 3 digits. Thus Ayrshire bulls have numbers from 01 to 199; Friesian bulls have numbers starting with 2 or 3; Guernsey
bulls with 4 and Jersey with 6.