Reproductive performance of farmed wapiti cervus elaphus nelsoni
Hudson, R.J.; Kozak, H.M.; Adamczewski, J.Z.; Olsen, C.D.
Small Ruminant Research 4(1): 19-28
ISSN/ISBN: 0921-4488 DOI: 10.1016/0921-4488(91)90049-v
Calving and weaning rates following 128 exposures of hinds to stags were recorded over a 11 year period for a research wapiti herd. Slightly less than 50% of hinds bred as yearlings and calved on their second birthday. About 90% of adults (3-12 years of age) calved. Only one set of twins occurrred in 103 births. The proportion of female calves increased with age of the hind. Calf mortality was 15%, most occurring within the first several days after birth. Male calves were heavior than female calves ((mean .+-. SE) 19.2 0.4 vs 16.8 .+-. 0.3 kg) and 2-year-old hinds had lighter calves than older hinds (13 vs 18 kg). Two-year olds calved later than older hinds and male calves were born later than female calves (mean birth date 1 June vs 26 May). Male calves weight 125 .+-. 4 kg and female calves weighed 116 .+-. 3 kg at 120 days, the usual weaning age. Birth weight accounted largely (r2 = 0.57) for the difference in weaning weights between genders. Overall, the reproductive performance of wapiti compared well with that of the more widely-farmed red deer.