Natural methods for increasing reproductive efficiency in small ruminants

Graeme Martin, John Milton, R.H. Davidson, G.E. Banchero Hunziker, David Lindsay, Dominique Blache

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

132 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper describes three strategies to improve the reproductive performance of small ruminants in ways that lead to "clean, green and ethical" animal production. The first is aimed at control of the timing of reproductive events for which we turn to the socio-sexual inputs of the "male effect" to induce synchronised ovulation in females that would otherwise be anovulatory. The second strategy, "focussed feeding", is based on our knowledge of the responses to nutrition and aims to develop short programs of nutritional supplements that are precisely timed and specifically designed for individual events in the reproductive process, such as gamete production, embryo survival, fetal programming and colostrum production. The third strategy aims to maximise offspring survival by a combination of management, nutrition and genetic selection for behavior (temperament). All of these approaches involve non-pharmacological manipulation of the endogenous control systems of the animals and complement the detailed information from ultrasound that is now becoming available. The use of such clean, green and ethical tools in the management of our animals can be cost-effective, increase productivity and, at the same time, greatly improve the image of meat and milk industries in society and the marketplace. (C) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-246
JournalAnimal Reproduction Science
Volume82-83
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2004

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