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Monday, 2 July 2018
Characterization of the onset of puberty in Tazegzawt lambs, an endangered Algerian sheep: Body weight, thoracic perimeter, testicular growth, and seminal parameters
Research (Published online: 02-07-2018)
1. Characterization of the onset of puberty in Tazegzawt lambs, an endangered Algerian sheep: Body weight, thoracic perimeter, testicular growth, and seminal parameters
Aim: The aim of the present study was to define the onset of puberty in Tazegzawt ram lambs, an Algerian sheep breed in endangered status with a small population in its local area.
Materials and Methods: Body growth (body weight and thoracic perimeter), scrotal circumference (SC), penis development stages, and seminal parameters (volume, concentration, and motility) were measured. Data were recorded at fortnightly intervals in 10 animals from 9 to 49 weeks of age.
Results: On the basis of seminal analyses, puberty occurred between 29 and 45 weeks of age. At 29 weeks of age, 30% of lambs reached puberty, and at 45 weeks of age, puberty was observed in 100% of the analyzed animals. Body weight appeared as the most determinant factor, and the onset of puberty was observed when animals reached 43.2±6.4 kg body weight with 25.8±3.7 cm of SC. Seminal analyses revealed that all parameters increased regularly from puberty onset except for sperm concentration. The mean semen volume during the study period was 0.48±0.33 mL with 0.84±0.6 mL at 37 weeks of age. Sperm concentration evolved similarly as semen volume; at 29 and 43 weeks of age, the sperm concentration was 942x106 and 1904x106 spermatozoa/mL, respectively. Kinematic parameters including the percentage of motility, the percentage of progressive motility, and gametes velocities as determined by Computer-Aided Sperm Analyzer showed the highest values at 49 weeks of age.
Conclusion: The current results revealed that, in Tazegzawt ram lambs, puberty occurs between 29 and 45 weeks when animals reach 43.2±4.6 kg body weight.