The effect of paddock size on the response of seasonal anoestrous ewes to the ram effect
Rosa, H. J. D., Silva, C. C. and Bryant, M. J. (2003) The effect of paddock size on the response of seasonal anoestrous ewes to the ram effect. Small Ruminant Research, 48 (3). pp. 233-237. ISSN 0921-4488
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/s0921-4488(03)00049-x
Many aspects of the conditions required to maximize the ewe's response to ram introduction in the late anoestrous season remain unclear. The aim of this research was to determine whether grazing space allowances could influence the efficacy of the ram effect. In August 1995, at Reading (latitude 51degrees27'N), following a 3-month isolation period from rams, two groups of nulliparous Mule ewes, aged 15 months, were introduced to four rains in a low (12 ewes/ha; treatment L, n = 124) or in a high stocking rate (84 ewes/ha; treatment H, n = 126). From the beginning of August until the end of August oestrous behaviour was recorded by daily checks of mating marks on ewes. Rams were removed and in October all ewes were scanned (day 50) for pregnancy. No significant differences were found in the parameters investigated. Eighty-two percent of the L and 75.4% of the H ewes exhibited oestrus, with a pronounced peak on day 23 following ram introduction and a compact concentration in the 21-25-day period. The oestrous synchronisation rate in this 5-day period was 69.4 and 68.3%, respectively for L and H. The mean interval from ram introduction to oestrus was 23.17+/-2.4 days in L and 23.0+/-2.2 days in the H group. Conception rates were 84.3 and 87.4% for L and H groups, respectively. These results suggest that the response of anoestrous ewes to the introduction of rams was not affected by grazing space allowances and that yearling Mule ewes respond well to the ram effect in the late anoestrus season. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.