Training a new boar can be one of the most difficult and frustrating steps in the artificial insemination process. It takes time to design a system that best fits your needs and skills. Here are some guidelines from Wayne Singleton, Purdue University animal scientist.
- Select a person who is patient and enjoys working with individual animals. Some people aren't meant to be good trainers.
- Begin the training process during the incoming animal's isolation period by building a trust between the boar and the handler. The person should spend a few minutes each day scratching, rubbing and talking to the animal.
- Keep in mind that young boars vary in sexual maturity. Some seven-month-old boars are ready for the AI experience, others may require another four to six weeks to mature.
- Provide a comfortable training area that is clean, dry, well lighted and free of distractions. Using a breeding mat about 8 feet by 10 feet will provide supportive footing. A boar that slips during an early mounting attempt may become shy about doing it again.
- Collect a previously trained boar before initiating a training session for a new boar. The odor and sound may stimulate the new boar, especially if he is located next to the collection area.
- Adjust the sow dummy so that it is equal to or slightly lower than the boar that is being trained. Make sure the dummy is sturdy and securely anchored to the floor or wall.
- Plan training sessions for about 15 minutes to 20 minutes. Some young boars will mount the dummy immediately, while others may want to explore the pen area and dummy, and may require several sessions.
- Some boars require coaxing. Crouch down near the dummy, allow the boar to smell your hand and clothes, talk to him in a reassuring tone. Straddle the dummy and continue the coaxing process. Try pouring semen from a previous collection on the dummy.
- Keep the boar focused on the dummy. If needed, place winged gates, hinged on the wall at the front of the dummy to keep him in place.