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Effect of thermal stress, restricted feeding and combined stresses (thermal stress and restricted feeding) on growth and plasma reproductive hormone levels of Malpura ewes under semi-arid tropical environment.

Author(s): Sejian V, Maurya VP, Naqvi SM

Affiliation(s): Adaptation Physiology Laboratory, Division of Physiology & Biochemistry, Central Sheep & Wool Research Institute, Avikanagar, Rajasthan, India.

Publication date & source: 2011-04, J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl)., 95(2):252-8. Epub 2010 Aug 27.

Publication type: Randomized Controlled Trial

A study was conducted to assess the effect of thermal, nutritional and combined stresses (thermal and nutritional) on the growth, oestradiol and progesterone levels during oestrus cycles in Malpura ewes. Twenty-eight adult Malpura ewes were used in the present study. The ewes were randomly allocated into four groups, viz., GI (n=7; control), GII (n=7; thermal stress), GIII (n=7; restricted feeding) and GIV (n=7; combined stress). The animals were stall fed with a diet consisting of 60% roughage and 40% concentrate. GI and GII ewes were provided with ad libitum feeding while GIII and GIV ewes were provided with restricted feed (30% intake of GI and GII ewes) to induce nutritional insufficiency. GII and GIV ewes were kept in climatic chamber at 40 degrees C and 55% RH for 6 h a day between 10:00 and 16:00 hours to induce thermal stress for a period of two oestrous cycles. Parameters studied were body weight, oestrus incidences, plasma oestradiol 17-beta, plasma progesterone, conception rate, gestation period, lambing rate, and birth weight of lambs. The results indicate that combined stress significantly (p<0.05) reduced body weight, oestrus duration, birth weight of lambs, and oestradiol 17-beta whereas significantly (p < 0.05) increased oestrus cycle length and progesterone. Furthermore, the results reveal that on comparative basis, ewes were able to better adapt in terms of growth and reproduction to restricted feeding than thermal stress. However, when restricted feeding was coupled with thermal stress it had significant (p<0.05) influence on body weight, average daily gain, oestradiol 17-beta and progesterone concentrations. This showed that combined stress were more detrimental for these reproductive hormones in Malpura ewes under a hot semi-arid environment. (c) 2010 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.

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