Modulation of sexual behavior of Morada Nova ewe by the season of the year in a semiarid equatorial environment
Keywords:environmental conditions, reproductive ethology, seasonality sheep
The objective was to evaluate the effect of the season on the sexual behavior patterns adopted by Morada Nova sheep in the Brazilian semiarid region. A total of 55 and 59 female sheep were used in the rainy and dry seasons, respectively, attended by four males of the same breed in rotation. The females identified in oestrus were released in a pasture, together with the breeder of the day for each season, and aspects of sexual behavior were measured for an uninterrupted period of 11 hours/day. Assuming a negative binomial distribution, the behavioral frequencies were subjected to deviation analysis and compared using the chi-square. Heading in the male was observed more frequently during the rainy season (0.12) and shifts with higher temperatures; the turn of the head in relation to the man was observed more frequently during the dry season (2.49). The interactions between seasons and shifts significantly affected the following behaviors: sniffing the male, sniffing the male's urogenital region, wagging the tail, lifting the tail, and urinating. Behavioral variables were influenced by the season. Morada Nova sheep reduce their water intake and grazing time to engage more efficiently in reproductive activities, thus demonstrating an ability to adapt to the Caatinga.
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