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Relationships among uterine and placental factors in prolific ewes and their relevance to variations in foetal weight



Relationships among uterine and placental factors in prolific ewes and their relevance to variations in foetal weight



Animal Production 30(1): 115-124



Observations were made on the distribution of ovulations between the 2 ovaries, the distribution of fetuses between the 2 uterine horns, the total numbers of cotyledonary burrs and the weights and numbers of fetal cotyledons for each fetus in 80 Finnish Landrace .times. Dorset Horn ewes killed between 50-145 days of gestation. While ovulations were randomly distributed between right and left ovaries viable fetuses were more evenly distributed between right and left uterine horns. Migration of embryos between the horns contributed to this relative balance but early fetal mortality, which increased with ovulation rate, tended to upset it. The mean number of fetal cotyledons per fetus depended on litter size and distribution and at any fixed litter size was substantially reduced in those ewes with 6 or more ovulations. Fetal weights were relatively low in these ewes. The total weight of cotyledons per fetus decreased by .apprx. 12% for each increase of 1 fetus compared to a 20% decrease in number of cotyledons but only a 7-11% decrease in the weight of the individual fetuses. Comparisons between fetuses within the same litter led to similar trends in the ratios of cotyledon numbers, cotyledon weights and fetal weights. The presence of some very small lambs in large litters should not be attributed to maternal undernutrition in late pregnancy.

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Accession: 000734343

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

DOI: 10.1017/s0003356100023862


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