Sexual behavior and hormone levels of Kıvırcık ewes after estrus synchronization during and out of the breeding season
Abstract. The aim of the study was to investigate the sexual behavior and hormonal changes in Kıvırcık ewes synchronized during and out of the breeding season. Feeding, individual and eliminative behaviors of the ewes were also recorded. Group I ewes were synchronized during the breeding season and Group II ewes were synchronized out of the breeding season. At the end of synchronization protocol, ewes were exposed to Kıvırcık rams (day 0, hour 0) and behavioral observations were started. Jugular blood samples were collected at the end of each observation period. Among sexual behaviors, head-turning and non-firm standing were displayed more frequently than soliciting, anogenital sniffing, sniffing scrotum and firm standing in both groups. Squatting and tail-fanning were not observed regularly. Defecation and sexual behaviors did not differ between groups. Group I displayed more lying (P<0.001), standing (P<0.001), and urination (P<0.001) whereas Group II displayed more eating (P<0.001), rumination (P<0.001), drinking (P<0.01) and walking (P<0.001). Estradiol levels around estrus did not differ between groups and showed a wave like pattern. While serum progesterone was at the basal level before and during estrus, it started to increase at 50 h and reached a level >0.5 ng/ml at 122 h in both groups. Estrus onset was 30.0±1.38 and 26.5±2.27 h, for Group I and II, respectively. Estrus duration was 19.0±2.20 and 18.0±2.86 h, for the same groups, respectively. In conclusion, Kıvırcık ewes synchronized during the anestrous period showed similar behavioral and hormonal responses, as in the breeding season.