Reproductive capacity is controlled by a large number of factors such as season, social interactions and metabolic status. However, the influence of emotional reactivity on reproductive success has not been intensively investigated in farm animals. In this review, we define emotion reactivity and the expression of its inter individual variability named temperament. We briefly describe our protocol to measure temperament in sheep and discuss the heritability of temperament traits. Using the results obtained from our flock of sheep selected for calm or nervous temperament, we illustrate how this selection affects the reproductive biology from changing the inexperienced ewe's response to the male effect to improving lamb survival and ovulation rate. We conclude that the mechanisms by which selection for temperament affects the different steps of the reproductive cycle are not yet understood but nevertheless this type of selection could have a great impact on reproduction efficiency of sheep and other domestic ruminants.
Blache, D., & Bickell, S. L. (2010). Temperament and reproductive biology: emotional reactivity and reproduction in sheep. Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia, 39, 401-408. https://doi.org/10.1590/S1516-35982010001300044