Study: Stable Studs Strategically for Better Sperm Quality

Researchers say studs have better-quality semen when housed next to other stallions before being stabled next to a mare.

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There’s nothing like a little bit of competition to get the blood pumping. And in the case of stallions, such competition appears to get the sperm going, too. In a new study, Swiss researchers revealed that stallions have better-quality semen when housed next to other stallions before being housed next to a mare.

Stallions that spent eight weeks in a stallion barn—housed in individual stalls next to other breeding stallions—and then several weeks stabled in an individual stall next to a mare experienced an increase in sperm counts and velocities, said Dominik Burger, DVM, a scientist at the Swiss Institute of Equine Medicine (University of Bern and Agroscope) in Avenches.

The same stallions housed next to a mare without first spending a few weeks housed with other stallions had comparatively lower sperm counts and velocities, Burger said.

“Ejaculate characteristics are plastic (meaning they can change), and here we confirm that sperm quantity and quality react to the social environment of stallions,” Burger said

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Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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