Conception stats are usually a bit better on fresh. Some stallions don't freeze well. That said, you can find stallions with excellent frozen. Frozen is nice because you pay by the dose (so it can be cheaper if you catch first try). Also, you have it at your vet's so it is "ready to go" and you don't have to worry about ordering semen. Caveat is make sure you have it shipped to your vet's ahead of time!
However, I would base it mainly on your vet's comfort level and success level with frozen. If they always breed with fresh then that is what I would use. The vet has to be willing to carefully monitor the mare to time frozen (more so than with fresh).
Just my humble 2 cents. There are much more experienced peeps on here than me, so hopefully they will chime in!
You must also have a vet that can store the frozen for you...very few vets in our area have this available. Be sure to check with your vet. Also, once you choose a stallion it is helpful to ask on this board if anyone has had success with the frozen of that particular stallion...
According to the vet who does my frozen breedings, overall success rate frozen v. fresh is about 10% less success with frozen. If you do a search on here, there have been some excellent threads that should answer many of your questions. One of them addressed maidens and frozen semen, as a result of which I have my maiden mare at a clinic, waiting to be bred with frozen. She is five, so I'm feeling pretty confident about it. I don't remember how old your mare is, but I think she is over 10? An older maiden would give me pause breeding first time with frozen.
There are pluses and minuses as far as cost of the breeding fresh v. frozen. Many fresh breedings are charging a fair amount of money for collection and there are always overnight Fedex charges for shipping, which can happen as many times as it takes to get your mare pregnant. The plus is fresh is almost always a live foal guarantee. Frozen semen arrives at your vet's clinic and waits for the mare to be bred. Hopefully you ordered enough doses that you don't have to do more shipping; frozen requires a one-time round trip for a dry shipper. There is no live foal guarantee, mostly, so if your mare doesn't get in foal you are out the money. Be sure you do your homework and make sure there are pregnancies resulting from your frozen semen before you buy it.
My only experience.breeding was with my maiden mare. Tried once with stallion's fresh, she didn't take, then the stallion died in the middle of the 14 day waiting-to-see-if-pregnant period. We bred her next cycle with his frozen and she took (but lost the foal at 7.5months). Just my one time experience.
Some frozen semen comes with a live foal guarantee. For example, all the stallions at Team Nijhof all come with a stud fee and live foal guarantee. They will ship as many doses of frozen as you need to get the mare in foal. And you get another chance the following year if you don't getting a living, standing, nursing foal.
I don't mind using frozen on a maiden mare. I have 2 maiden mares who have their dates set about to be tried with frozen in about 3 weeks from now. As others have said, the timing needs to be more precise; however, you only need to thaw once you're absolutely sure the time is right. If you accidently miss her ovulation, you just sit back and wait whereas with fresh the shipment is there and if you missed the ovulation then it's wasted.
If you use frozen on a maiden, have a Plan B backup with fresh. Sometimes, for whatever reason, some mares really react with a lot of post-insemination inflammation and subsequent fluid clearance problems with frozen. Not all, but some do.
Warmblood Stations like Celle, Paul Schockemohle, Team Nijhof and VDL have a reputation for only allowing stallions with GOOD freezing/thawing capabilities to be on their frozen roster. They just don't ship junk and they are willing to work it through their lab in order to assess how many straws are required in the dose to give your mare a reasonable chance at success.
Do your mare a favor, however, and don't break up the dose on a stallion you've never used frozen before. Use the whole dose they supply. If you've used the stallion and know his fertility post thaw is superb, then you can try and short-cut (if you have no contract) and just try a half-dose.
A note: If your dose is 6 straws, this does not mean the station has been generous and sent you a whopping bunch. It means, the stallion has a less-than-average post thaw progressive motility and they sent you 6 straws because you most likely will need ALL 6 straws for a reasonable chance at pregnancy.
I like the freedom frozen semen provides. Frozen Semen from no-contract source means I can try and get as many foals as possible out of each dose. You're not limited to 1 one mare. You are not limited as to what year you use it. Theoretically speaking, if properly stored and the tank is not allowed to go dry, you can keep the semen for many years. So, if you decide this isn't the year to do it, you can still buy the semen now, keep it stored (most storage facility rates aren't expensive) and plan for a year when you have better financial and/or time resources to get 'er done. Frozen semen is put through a bit of a process in order to get frozen, so the sperm cells get knocked around a little bit - centrifuged to separate sperm from the fluids, then the sperm pellet is manipulated into teeny tiny straws and then sent through the freezing process with LN2. When you thaw it, it has to be done precisely according to the recommendations in the paperwork that came with your shipment. Too long in the warm water and you cook the sperm, rendering them useless. Too little and it affects them too. Timing is everything. Your vet needs to be prepared, and organized, on "The Day" and have all his equipment primed and ready to go before doing the unthawing.
With fresh, the most critical part of timing is knowing when to call for a shipment, hoping that shipment isn't delayed for some unexplicable reason, and get it in the mare before the swimmers die. However, fresh has a tiny bit better success rate because it is, well, fresh. Inserting fresh semen into the mare is easy peasy.
In my experience because of all the extra ultrasounds.. way more expensive to do frozen. My vet tells me to count on it being double, and great if all the planets align and it doesnt take that. lol
Most vets who do both fresh and frozen breeding will have a "package price" that includes the hormones, insemination, and numerous ultrasounds required to observe ovulation. For fresh, it is typically $400+ and for frozen it is $700-ish. This does not include pre-heat ultrasounds or follow up preg check u/s.
I have had fresh semen contracts that stipulated certain preg checks must be done on certain days (ie day 16, 24, 30, 45, and 60) so this can add up, while I only check at 14, 28, and 60 when I do frozen). Also, the cost of frozen semen can be $500/ dose or $2500/ dose (occassionally more) so there is really no way to say that one or the other is cheaper.
Pick the frozen stallion you most like and then pick the best fresh stud and compare their exact costs side by side, if you want to know which might be cheaper. Keep in mind all the above mentioned factors, like what that particular stallion's rate of pregnancies is and how much they charge to ship each dose...
Trinity has it right. Using my vet's fees (he does packages), expenses are roughly:
Stud fee (including booking) $1900
$150 for collection
$150 for shipment (could even be more depending on distance)
$400-600 vet fees for mare U/S, hormone shots, insemination, and followup U/S with oxytocin.
$2600 to 2800 for the first cycle.
$150 for collection
$150 for shipment (or ++)
$400-600 Vet fee
$700-900 for the second cycle.
Assuming she took by second cycle: $3300 to $3700 depending on your vet fees.
You buy 2 doses at $750 each, ship all at one time = 1 shipment cost.
Semen 1 dose $750
$600-800 mare treatment/insemination by vet
$1500 to $1700 first cycle.
$750 semen (no shipping)
$600-800 mare insemination
$1350 - 1550 for second cycle.
Assuming she took on second cycle: $2850 to $3250, depending on vet costs and what the mare required.
Pregnancy check U/S = $65 and I have this done on day 14 twin check, then again day 30 and another day 55 to be sure it's progressing.
Some vets charge extra for board. My vet does not, but then I live right nearby and provide my own hay and can zip over and feed her myself, so he doesn't charge me board costs. If your vet charges board costs, then add that to your daily tally.
Depending on the mare candidate, frozen can be cheaper... or alternatively if you have a difficult mare, then fresh is definitely the cheapest way to go because your treatment and vet costs start to really add up. If you have a mare who tends towards a lot of fluid, then I would never use frozen on that mare.
The best response in this type of question is: Choose your mare wisely.
If she is simple, straight forward, doesn't pool fluid, clears fluid post-insemination easily, is readily fertile and fairly young, then frozen could be the simplest and cheapest alternative.
If she has any complications whatsoever - meaning she requires extra estrogen and oxytocin prior to breeding because of constant fluid, constant vigilence with regard to infection elimination and a couple days worth of post-insemination flushing and diligent oxytocin protocol, and she's older, or have proven to be befuddling in the fertility department, then fresh is the best and only alternative for her.
Obviously, a maiden, you don't always know if she is easy or difficult. So, you try with easy and have a Plan B fresh backup if she turns out to be difficult.
If you're a first time breeder go with fresh. Give yourself and your mare a better chance for having a positive experience. If you are a more experienced breeder, try frozen. Check to see if there is a fresh back up option as this may give you some more confidence when using the frozen.
Best of luck!
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