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Training rams to court and mate female goats

By Agustín Orihuela, Rodolfo Ungerfeld

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Abstract

As Saint-Croix rams (sheep) exhibit low seasonal reproductive changes, they could be effective in inducing a reproductive response during the non-breeding season in anestrous does (goats) of breeds whose bucks show low reproductive activity. Three management practices for training rams to court and mate anestrous does were compared. Yearling rams were: (1) housed with pregnant goats (PrG); (2) kept as a unisexual group, and exposed individually to a restrained non-receptive female goat four times a week (GoG); and (3) kept as a unisexual group, and during the first two sexual tests (week 1), a non-receptive ewe was used as stimulus immediately before being replaced by the non-receptive goat (EwG). Each ram was individually exposed to a non-receptive doe two times/week on weeks 0 (pre-treatment response), 1 and 4, and the rams' sexual behavior was recorded during 30 min. On Week 0, no ram displayed any sexual behavior. EwG and GoG rams displayed more sniffs than PrG ( P=0.025 and P=0.002 respectively). The number of flehmens displayed by EwG and GoG rams was greater than the number displayed by PrG rams (EwG vs PrG: P=0.006 and GoG vs PrG: P=0.028). Rams prestimulated with goats (GoG) licked more than those housed with pregnant goats (PrG) ( P=0.009); those stimulated with ewes (EwG) tended to lick more than PrG rams ( P=0.09). Rams prestimulated with goats (GoG) kicked more times than those housed with pregnant goats (PrG) ( P=0.007), without differences between EwG and PrG rams. Rams housed with pregnant goats did not display any mounting behavior (attempt to mount, mounts, or ejaculations) in any test. The number of mounting behaviors did not differ between groups in the first two tests. EwG rams performed more ( P=0.006) and GoG rams tended to engage in more ( P=0.058) attempted mounting than PrG rams. GoG rams mounted more times than EwG ( P=0.048) and PrG ( P=0.017) rams. Rams prestimulated with ewes (EwG) ejaculated more times than GoG and PrG ( P

Date 2016
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 176
Pages 27-31
Publisher Elsevier
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2016.01.001
Language English
Additional Language English
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Tags
  1. Goats
  2. Learning
  3. Sexual behavior
  4. Sheep
  5. signals
  6. stimulation