The Catalonian donkey breed is in danger of extinction, and much needs to be learned about the reproductive features of its females if breeding and conservation programmes are to be successful. This study reports the oestrous behaviour, oestrus cycle characteristics and dynamic ovarian events witnessed during 50 oestrous cycles (involving 106 ovulations) in 10 Catalonian jennies between March 2002 and January 2005. These jennies were teased, palpated transrectally and examined by ultrasound using a 5 MHz linear transducer-daily during oestrus and every other day during dioestrus. Predictors of ovulation were sought among the variables recorded. The most evident signs of oestrus were mouth clapping (the frequent vertical opening and closing of the mouth with ears depressed against the extended neck) and occasional urinating and winking of the vulval lips (homotypical behaviour). Interactions between jennies in oestrus were also recorded, including mounting, herding/chasing, the Flehmen response, and vocalization (heterotypical behaviour). Nine jennies ovulated regularly throughout the year; one had two anovulatory periods (54 and 35 days). The length of the oestrus cycle was 24.90 ± 0.26 days, with oestrus itself lasting 5.64 ± 0.20 days (mean ± S.E.M.) and dioestrus 19.83 ± 0.36 days. The incidence of single, double and triple ovulations was 55.66% (n = 59), 42.45% (n = 45) and 1.89% (n = 2), respectively. No significant difference was seen in the number of ovulations involving the left and right ovaries (52.63% [n = 70] compared to 47.37% [n = 63] respectively; P > 0.05). The mean interval between double ovulation was 1.44 ± 3.98 days. The mean diameter of the preovulatory follicle at day -1 was 44.9 ± 0.5 mm; the mean growth rate over the 5 days before ovulation was 3.7 mm/day. Data on preovulatory changes in oestrous behaviour, follicle size, follicle texture, the echographic appearance of the follicle and uterus, and uterine tone were subjected to stepwise logistic regression analysis to detect predictors of ovulation. The logit function showed the best predictors to be follicle size, follicular texture and oestrous behaviour. Certain combinations of these three variables allow the prediction of ovulation within 24 h with a probability of >75%. © 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
|Publication status||Published - 1 Dec 2008|
- Oestrus cycle
- Prediction of ovulation time