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Sep 29, 2010
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Making arrangements to purchase some old semen. Found out it's in ampules.

The amps I currently have are few and for flushes only. My embryologist knows how to use amps, but he is 3+ hours away.

The wife and I do any ai work here so hiring someone else would be weird. In other words I want to learn how to help myself!

Where to buy the items needed are the first hurdle, followed by how to use them.

My ABS man breeds for lots of folks, so I will probably give him a call. I know a few seasoned gentlemen who started out with amps in the 60s. They are several hours away and one of them quit doing AI a couple years ago due to shoulder problems. One of them may be willing to help me out.

The semen is on a very important bull, but the available amps I can buy are not very expensive and I would like to AI some cows with it this spring if I can figure out how.

Amps are thawed in an ice bath, you need rigid pipettes. There used to be a little poly bulb that slipped over the open end of the pipette and you used that to draw the semen into the pipette and disharge it into the cow. When I couldn;t get the bulbs anymore, I used a piece of surgical tuping about an inch long and a 6 cc syringe to do the same thing. There also used to be a tool to snap off the top of the amp, but since they are scored you can snap it off by hand just as easily. Those would be the only differences between amps and straws.
Since you draw up semen you can easily split an ampule and breed two cows with one ampule. A small file will etch the neck to snap it.
Thanks all!

Red Bull- I have done some business with Bovine Elite, so that's a good lead. I will check in to that.

I hope I can find somebody local that has a supply of the things I need. I keep syringes on hand so it sounds like the pipettes and the piece between is all I will have to procure.

Ebeneezer- I wondered about splitting the amp. One of the gentleman I mentioned earlier told me about his start in the Charolais business in the mid 60's.

At the time he and his family were of modest means to be kind, according to him. They finally saved enough to buy a pregnant cow, who eventually had a heifer.

He saved money all year to buy a single amp, and bred both cow and heifer with it in hopes of at least one pregnancy. He in fact got both cows pregnant and even today if he breeds with a straw he tries to have two cows ready and splits the straw!

Old habits....

One thing I forgot-The seller did tell me that these ampules are not pre-scored. I guess they are early ampules as the bull was a late 50s model.

Can I score them with a pocket knife or seal pick?

cotton1":954uf229 said:
One thing I forgot-The seller did tell me that these ampules are not pre-scored. I guess they are early ampules as the bull was a late 50s model.

Can I score them with a pocket knife or seal pick?

Boy those are old. At least they aren;t "magic wands". A knife wont do the job, need a fine needle file or a hardened scribe. The scribe would just take a lot more dexterity then I have.
I had the chance to check out the bovine elite site just now. Great news for me is they have a tool to score the amps for $12 and a 18in pipette that is made to screw on to a luer lock syringe, which is the kind I keep in stock-no in between piece needed!

Dun-those amps are pretty old I will guess. If you were curious the bull is FWT Bar 951(Sam), the bull that made Jerry Littons program in the 70's.The gentleman I am dealing with bought the Litton Ranch sometime after the crash and still owns it. The amps were probably put up by Charlie pretty early 1960s would be my guess.

I missed it but the Bull-O-Gram featured Sam as I understand.The bull was line bred quite a bit with no birth defects, and produced moderate but meaty cattle. As I was told by the gentleman I am buying the amps from, they were frame 5.5 or so kind of cattle that were easy keepers and fertile. Pre-frame race cattle.

I would like to bring the frame down a little on my cows, and just basically think it would be neat to see how the Sam bull will work on my modern day genetics for now. My previous flushes with other foundation bulls will hopefully give me some more interesting cows to mate with Sam in the future. Ive already been told that the newest bulls are better than the old ones, but I have also seen pictures of the old ones and have owned calfs off the newest ones.

It has been several years, but I had good success purchasing empty 1/2 cc straws and putting them on the end of a syringe and sucking the semen back into the straw and then AI breeding normally. The ampules I had filled each straw about 80-90% and I did this with 3 ampules - same bull. One - both cows settled AI, second - flush went well and third - one out of two settled. That is not a large sample, but it was simple and effective.

I use a 1 cc syringe for the 1/4 cc straws for ET work, but I don't remember which syringe the 1/2 cc straw fits into.

Just to update:

Got the Amps and supplies here by last Thursday. Bovine Elite no longer carries the scribe tool, but I found one at a local hardware store for $6! Calf's started coming mid January so its time to get breeding started in the next few weeks. Well, one day after procuring all the necessary items I notice a cow standing late Friday. I confirmed she was in a good standing natural heat by watching her for the next hour and a half or so until dark, then decided to go ahead and AI her the next day.

So...last Saturday was the wife and I first attempt at AI with a Ampule here. It seemed to go well and was not nearly as difficult as I had told myself it was going to be. Previous info garnered from folks who know gave me advise on the whole process(Including CT). We thawed in ice water in a styrofoam cup for about 15 mins, removed the ice shell that forms around the amp. Quickly scribed the top and got that off, then drew it up in the pipette hooked to a 3cc syringe. The rest of the process was typical AI work. The cow was nice and calm on the outside, but the wife said she was squeezing her arm so that she was loosing feeling in her fingers. The wife felt she found the cervix despite the squeezing, so IF it went well we could see a calf off of Sam 951 here between Christmas and New Year.

A tid bit about the deal that I thought was neat.When we finished AI school in Jan of 2012 we were ready to start doing the AI work here for spring breeding. Prior we gave the shots and cidrs etc, and a friend came over and bred for me. Well, the wife is better at AI than I am and her very first attempt was a success. The cow that came in heat and subsequently was AI bred with the first amp Saturday was the result of the first AI my wife ever did here on the farm.

All in all I thought the process may have been easier than thawing/loading a modern straw. I just wonder why the ice bath doesn't hurt the swimmers since we were taught to thaw around 94 degrees with the straws?

We may get the chance to breed a few more in the next few weeks. I plan to start a couple on cidrs/fertagyle next Tuesday to try and get a few more embryos put in, but one or two of them need AI so they will probably get the Sam bull.
Its always fun learning something new, even if its old news. Thanks to all who helped us out here!

I think the ampules have a lot more swimmers. As I recall when they collected for us years ago and put it up in ampules we didn;t get nearly as many ampules as we did the following year when they did straws. Also the extenders are different so that may have some bearing on it. Congrats anyway. Next you'll be doing magic wands!
Thanks for your input and the congrats Dun!

I have heard of the Magic Wands but have never seen any that I know of. I was thinking, probably the Charolais got here so late that they weren't put up in them? I don't know when the pre-scribed amps came out, but from the info I gathered on the ones I bought they are pretty early-probably 1960-63. Of course I will never really know, just speculate on that time frame.

Sadly, I am pretty sure I liked the AI with the amp better than the conventional straws. I'm betting you are right about there being more swimmers available in the amps too. Sometimes I forget there was the America where you got what you paid for and it paid you enough to pay for the next thing you needed.

I guess the ampules will join a list of things that used to be that aren't really anymore. IE( not complete) : 1.Tractor Trailors that bellow black smoke from its pipes 2. Motorcycles without any "stuff" 3. Cars that didn't have AC & cars and pickups with the little vent window 4. Small horsepower tractors with inline 6 motors and 38in rear tires.

These are all things I favor that were a part of my youth, that are no longer and I see ampules will be another part of that list.There is more to my list, but I will stop. In a somber mood. The hound dog didn't come back from ramblin, been 2 days now and she is always home before dark. I'm not real old, but I know what it means when your ol buddy don't come in no more.Even when you have to have grey hairs and calloused hands it still sucks, just like when we were kids!

Bout had this one trained too.

When they went to the pre-scribed ampules I thought we were in tall cotton. Now I far prefer straws. Easier to store and handle. Never noticed a difference in conception rates between straws and ampules. The last time I saw magic wands was in the early 70s.
Interesting reading through this thread. I was talking to someone the other day who used to help out an A.I. man back in the 70s and said they used to defrost the ampules in their mouth. I have heard they could pop while defrosting, that would not be a pleasant experience. He also told me to become an A.I. tech back then was a six week course!

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