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Cryopreservation of Avian Semen
Cryopreservation protocols for semen exist for bird species used in animal production, fancy and hobby species, and wild bird species. Freezing of bird oocytes or embryos is not possible. Cryopreservation of avian semen is used for preserving (genetic diversity of) endangered species or breeds. Freezing semen can also be used in the breeding industry for maintaining breeding lines, as a cost-effective alternative to holding live birds. Success and efficiency of cryopreservation of bird semen differs among species and breeds or selection lines. This chapter describes important variables of methods for collecting, diluting, cold storage, and freezing and thawing of bird semen, notably the medium composition, cryoprotectant used and its concentration, cooling rate, freezing method, and warming method. Media and methods are described for freezing semen using either glycerol or DMA as cryoprotectant, which both are known in chicken and a number of other bird species to render adequate post-thaw fertility rates.