The effect of flushing on the reproductive performance of Morada Nova and Santa Inês ewes submitted to fixed time artificial insemination

The aim of this study was to analyze the effect of flushing on the reproductive performance of Morada Nova (MN) and Santa Inês (SI) ewes submitted to fixed time artificial insemination (TAI). Twenty seven SI and 24 MN supplemented with concentrate (1% of live weight, on average), for 75 days during the breeding season. After 30 days of supplementation, ewes were synchronized with the aid of a hormonal protocol (HP) based on progesterone, eCG and cloprostenol. The estrus observation was conducted at 12, 24, 36 and 48 h after the end of HP with the aid of two ruffians. TAI was done 55 h after the end of HP. From 20 to 45 days after the beginning of the HP ewes were exposed to rams (natural breeding). The pregnancy diagnosis was evaluated 70 days after TAI. We analyzed the weight, body condition score, estrus rate, pregnancy rate and prolificacy testing the effects of race, week of supplementation and body condition score class. The weight and body conditions of ewes varied according to the week of supplementation, with higher values in the first two weeks following TAI. The estrus rate was 88.2% and 43.2% of the ewes showed estrus up to 24 hours of the end of the HP. The pregnancy rate per TAI was 31.3% and the pregnancy rate after natural breeding was 50.0%. It was observed that body condition score classes interfered in pregnancy rates. There was a higher percentage of multiple births by pregnancy by TAI than by natural breeding. It was concluded that the flushing resulted in weight gain and better body conditions ensuring the standardization of the herd for breeding season, which therefore improved reproductive performance. The HP used advanced the onset of estrus and increased prolificacy, but was inefficient in the synchronization of woolless sheep.

ovine; body conditions; estrus; litter size; synchronization


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