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The effect of GnRH agonist (buserelin) treatment on day 12 post mating on the reproductive performance of ewes

N. F. G. Beck, A. R. Peters, S. P. Williams
Published: 1 April 1994

Abstract: An investigation was conducted to determine the effects of treatment with the GnRH agonist buserelin on day 12 post mating on the reproductive performance of ewes. There was a non-significant (P > 0·05) increase in nonreturn rate (control 0·76 v. buserelin 0·83) and litter size (control 1·51 v. buserelin 1·77) in three flocks. However, there was a significant (P< 0·05) increase in the number of twin lambs born (control 20 v. buserelin 40) and litter size (control 1·44 v. buserelin 1·68) in the yearling flock. There was no effect of buserelin on oestrous cycle length, although there was a tendency for treated animals to have a longer gestation length and heavier lambs. In a ewe lamb flock there was no effect of buserelin on non-return rate or litter size assessed post slaughter on day 31 of pregnancy. However, ovulation rate tended to be greater in the treated animals, which suggests that buserelin may have induced the formation of accessory corpora lutea. These results indicate that buserelin treatment improves embryo survival and that this effect is particularly evident in yearling ewes.
Keywords: embryo survival / GnRH / litter size / reproductive performance / sheep.

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