Effect of season, month of parturition and lactation on estrus behavior and ovarian activity in Barki x Rahmani crossbred ewes under subtropical conditions

Hashem, N.M.; El-Zarkouny, S.Z.; Taha, T.A.; Abo-Elezz, Z.R.

Theriogenology 75(7): 1327-1335


ISSN/ISBN: 1879-3231
PMID: 21295829
DOI: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2010.12.004
Accession: 052827175

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The correlations between some meteorological parameters and fertility data were evaluated in Barki x Rahmani crossbred ewes using the records of five consecutive years (2003-2007). Additionally, estrus detection and ultrasonic evaluation were applied on eighteen mature dry ewes during breeding and non-breeding seasons. The effect of lactation was evaluated by monitoring estrus behavior in ninety four lactating ewes from 40 to 120 d after parturition. Moreover, ultrasonography was used to identify ovarian activity in six cyclic and six acyclic non-lactating ewes. Results revealed that relative estrus occurrence and fertile mating were positively correlated (P <0.05) with high temperature and long photoperiod (conditions of summer season), and were negatively correlated (P < 0.01) with rainfall (condition of winter season). During breeding season, estrus rate, serum progesterone concentration, and diameter of largest follicle were significantly (P < 0.05) higher than those observed during the non-breeding season. Furthermore, month of parturition had a significant effect (P < 0.05) on estrus rate of lactating ewes where ewes that lambed in August, September, and October recorded higher estrus rate than those lambed in November and December. However, the lactational strength did not exert any deleterious effect on the reproductive performance of lactating ewes. In conclusion, in Egypt under subtropical conditions, Barki x Rahmani crossbred ewes exerted optimum estrus behavior and fertile mating during summer season. The reduction in estrus activity during lactation was due to the seasonal effect rather than lactational stress.