Influence of season, rainfall and air temperature on the reproductive efficiency in Romanov sheep in Croatia
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The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of season, rainfall and air temperature on the reproductive efficiency in the Romanov breed of sheep in continental part of Croatia during five consecutive years (2012–2016). During this period, 5379 matings resulted in 5046 successful conceptions, i.e. lambings at eight medium-scale Romanov breed sheep farms. The conception rate was 93.81%, fecundity was 195% and average preweaning mortality until 90 days of age was 12.41%. The seasonal distribution of lambings was 47.64% for ewes that delivered in winter (n = 2422), 23.37% in spring (n = 1179), 18.82% in summer (n = 950) and 9.81% in autumn (n = 495). Sexual activity was lowest during spring and early summer when air temperatures were above average (very and extremely warm), and sexual activity peaked from August to September, especially during extremely wet and very wet seasons. Litter size was greater during winter than in other seasons (1.70 vs. 1.54) and was significantly different as compared to each of selected years of the study period. There was a statistically significant difference in the number of pregnant ewes between mating seasons. Most female Romanov lambs born during winter and early spring mated in late summer or autumn and delivered at the age of 1 year or earlier. The seasonal distribution of matings and lambing was not uniform throughout the seasons over five consecutive years. Thus, it can be assumed that air temperature and rainfall during different seasons could affect the reproductive efficiency in Romanov breed of sheep in continental part of Croatia.
KeywordsConception rate Fecundity Seasonal Meteorological variables Reproductive efficiency Romanov breed of sheep
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. All animals were handled in strict accordance with good animal practices as defined by the relevant national and/or local animal welfare bodies. All procedures performed in studies involving animals were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution or practice at which the studies were conducted.
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