The objective was to identify the appropriate form of progesterone, which exhibits compact reproductive responses in Awassi ewes during mid to late seasonal anestrous period. Forty-eight Awassi ewes were randomly allocated into four groups to be treated with 60 mg medroxyprogesterone acetate (MAP), 30 mg fluorogestone acetate (FGA), 40 mg FGA, or 600 mg progesterone sponges. After a 12 day period, sponges were removed and ewes were administered i.m. with 600 IU PMSG (d 0, 0 h). Five harnessed Awassi rams were turned-in with the ewes to detect heat. Ewes were checked for breeding marks at 6 h intervals for 5 days. Blood samples were collected from all ewes for analysis of progesterone concentrations. Pretreatment (d -13 and -12) progesterone concentrations were
among all ewes and were indicative of seasonal anestrous period. On d 0, progesterone concentrations were elevated to
in ewes received progesterone sponges only and were higher (p<0.0001) than those (
) administered MAP or FGA sponges. Progesterone concentrations returned to their basal values of <0.2 ng/mL within 24 h of sponge removal and were similar (p>0.1) among all ewes. Incidence of estrus was similar (p>0.1) among the four groups and occurred in 75% (9/12), 82% (9/11), 67% (8/12) and 58% (7/12) of the ewes receiving MAP, 30 mg FGA, 40 mg FGA and progesterone sponges, respectively. Estrous responses occurred 14.7, 20 and 13.6 h earlier in progesterone-sponge-treated ewes than those of MAP- (p<0.04), 30 mg FGA- (p<0.01) and 40 mg FGA-treated (p=0.06) ewes, respectively. Induced estrus conception rates were 50% (6/12), 55% (6/11), 50% (6/12) and 42% (5/12), out of which 4/6, 4/6, 3/6 and 3/5 lambed 151 days following d 0, and were similar (p>0.1) among ewes of the four treatment groups. Ewes that returned to estrus 16 to 20 days following d 0 were 5/12, 5/11, 6/12 and 4/12 ewes treated with MAP, 30 mg FGA, 40 mg FGA and progesterone sponges, respectively, and all lambed 169 days later. Overall lambing rates were 75% (9/12), 82% (9/11), 75% (9/12) and 58% (7/12) ewes treated with MAP, 30 mg FGA, 40 mg FGA and progesterone sponges, respectively. Results demonstrate that applications of MAP, 30 mg FGA, 40 mg FGA and progesterone sponges Awassi ewes were equally effective in induction of estrus and tended to favor both types of FGA and MAP in overall lambing rates over progesterone sponges during the seasonal anestrous period.