Young boars inside quarantine

Tips & Tricks on breaking in boars

Before a young boar enters your center, there are a number of steps to follow: quarantine, blood tests, vaccinations and, above all, the first collection from the boar. Thus, the collection career of a boar begins from quarantine. The boar must be taught to mount the dummy as naturally as possible in order to stimulate its spermatogenesis and provoke the mounting reflex. This learning will ensure the efficiency of the production days and thus the smooth running of the AI center.

What are the best practices to implement for breaking in a boar efficiently?

This article gives the floor to a boar stud manager of the Gènes Diffusion group to share his 20 years of experience in this area.

Age of first collection

Boar in quarantine

The most suitable age is between 180 days and 240 days (6 – 8 months). Indeed, as mentioned in the “Boar performance: How does it change over the course of the boar’s life?” article, the boar’s puberty occurs around the sixth month.

Optimum period for the first collection

Generally, boars enter quarantine from the 6th month, and in most cases from different farms. Ideally, you should take advantage of the stress of the move to start breaking in boars as soon as possible, and make the most of the effect of grouping boars from different origins, which increases their hormonal activity.

Optimization of working conditions

For both boars and employees, it is more pleasant to intervene as soon as possible after the boars enter quarantine. In fact, the pens, the straw/floor, and the boars will be cleaner and won’t slip when they mount the dummies.
In summer, it is preferable to work in the morning to avoid temperatures that are too high. Temperatures above 22 degrees should be avoided in the building. Since boars do not tolerate heat well, it is logical that the boars must have the best possible conditions for obtaining the first collection. Finally, as for boars in production, it is preferable to break them in before feeding them.  See the “How do you organize feeding for boars to optimize semen collection?” article, where it is mentioned that satiation creates a significant decrease in libido, and limits the risks of stomach torsion.

Suitable equipment

If possible, it will be easier to use smaller dummies than those normally used in production centers. Ideally, the dummy should not be longer than 50 cm. Also, to simplify boar mounting effectively, the height should be slightly different between the front and the back to facilitate boar’s mounting.  Finally, if possible, the dummy should also be heavy, or fixed, to prevent the boar from playing with it.

Organization of the working day

To optimize the breaking in of the boars, 1 person for 3 hours for 10 boars is needed. Above 10 boars the work is more effective with two people. Indeed, sometimes when a boar’s semen is being collected, it causes the other boars to get excited. The second person then enables the work to achieve a certain optimization.
After 3 hours of breaking-in, we notice a decrease in the boars’ excitement, so it is better to continue the operation the next day.

Method for a first breaking-in operation

First breaking-in operation:

  • Do not attempt to break in sick boars or boars undergoing treatment. They must be collected during the second operation or later on in the center.
  • Try to start with the boars that seem the most excited.
  • Put the tapioca of the first boars on the dummy: A dummy that is soiled with tapioca or smells like boar will make it attractive to boars not broken in and provoke interest.
  • If the boar has not mounted the dummy after 10 minutes, then move on to the next one. Indeed, beyond 10-15 minutes, the success rate is very low.

When the dummy has been presented in all the pens, it can be presented again in the ones where the boars have not mounted. This second pass usually gives good results.
Be careful, if you are facing a boar that is too shy, it is useless to insist. In general, it is important to spend time with the boar in its pen to tame it. Agents should not show aggression towards animals.
The success rate should be around 70% on this first collection operation.

Second breaking-in operation :

  • Take 1 or 2 boars that mounted during the first operation, and then put the tapioca on the dummy. (a boar spray can be used.) This first collection is normally quite fast and allows the other boars to warm up.
  • Present the dummy in the pens, placing it in such a way as to be able to block the boar next to it. Then, try to excite the boar so that it moves the penis out of its sheath. The boar being blocked next to the dummy, it is then necessary to seize the penis. The boar will usually be tempted to mount. The dummy must be placed so that the boar cannot move around it. Ideally, with the dummy’s head toward the corner of the pen at a 45° angle to the walls.

Tips for difficult boars :

  • Before placing the dummy, you can get the boar to smell the glove used for the collection of the previous boar
  • When a young boar climbs onto a dummy after multiple collection attempts, it can be forced down while it is coupling. The frustrated boar will want to get back onto the dummy immediately and will thus acquire the mounting reflex

The goal is to break in 85-90% of the boars before they leave quarantine. This percentage is crucial for ensuring effective production days in AI centers 

Breaking-in at the boar stud

If, despite everything, you have not yet succeeded in breaking in the boar, several possibilities are open to you:

  • Make a collection on the boar the day it enters the center, to take advantage of the stress of transportation.  
  • Try breaking in twice a week without insisting for more than 15 minutes. Ideally during or at the end of a collection operation to take advantage of the ambient excitement.  
  • If possible, place these recalcitrant boars in the pens near the collection pits. Indeed, the sight of the collected boars makes it easier to train boars that are not broken in.

To facilitate the breaking in of your boars, feel free to contact the GenePro teams who propose suitable material for making this crucial step smoother: boar spray, dummy, etc.

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