Theriogenology, 1986. Paper abstract bibtex
Effects of season, nutritional environment, and presence of rams on incidence and rate of ovulation in fine-wool sheep in southern New Mexico were investigated over 14 months (February 1983–March 1984). Number of corpora lutea (CL) were observed each month by laparoscopy in random samples from six ewes in each subgroup. Seasonality of ovulation in fine-wool sheep managed on range was much more marked than in animals managed on alfalfa hay in drylot. Incidence of ovulation approached zero in range-managed ewes during May, June, and July (8%, 0%, 4%) but was higher (P\textless0.05) in the alfalfa-drylot group (42%, 17%, 75%), respectively. Although the incidence remained lower (P\textless0.05) in August in range-managed than in drylot ewes (50% and 83%, respectively), both groups were ovulating at a high rate during September through January. Incidence of ovulation dropped dramatically both years in the range-managed group in February compared with that of the alfalfa-drylot group (48% and 36% vs 100% and 83%). Mean ovulation rate per ewe ovulating did not differ (P\textgreater0.10) between nutrition groups within the 14 months. Body weight was related to CL number during periods of seasonal transition only. Continuous or intermittent presence of a ram had no real effect on either incidence or rate of ovulation during the transitional months. Nutritional environment can affect seasonality of breeding in fine-wool range sheep. This effect may not be consistently modified by presence of rams.