Effect of Thermal Stress on Sexual Behaviour of Superovulated Bharat Merino Ewes

  • Maurya, V.P. (Adaptation Physiology Laboratory, Division of Physiology and Biochemistry Central Sheep and Wool Research Institute) ;
  • Naqvi, S.M.K. (Adaptation Physiology Laboratory, Division of Physiology and Biochemistry Central Sheep and Wool Research Institute) ;
  • Gulyani, R. (Adaptation Physiology Laboratory, Division of Physiology and Biochemistry Central Sheep and Wool Research Institute) ;
  • Joshi, A. (Adaptation Physiology Laboratory, Division of Physiology and Biochemistry Central Sheep and Wool Research Institute) ;
  • Mittal, J.P. (Adaptation Physiology Laboratory, Division of Physiology and Biochemistry Central Sheep and Wool Research Institute)
  • Received : 2004.09.26
  • Accepted : 2005.03.07
  • Published : 2005.10.01


The present study was undertaken to study the effect of thermal stress on sexual behaviour of superovulated ewes. Fourteen adult Bharat Merino ewes with an average body weight of 29.4${\pm}$2.34 kg were randomly allocated into two groups of 7 each. All the animals were grazed on natural pasture in the morning and evening hours and housed in shed during night. Animals of Group-1 were housed in shed from 10:00 to 16:00 h while the animals of Group-2 were exposed to thermal stress in a hot chamber ($40^{\circ}C$ /6 h/day). All the animals were offered drinking water once a day at 16:30 h. Meteorological observations i.e. dry bulb, wet bulb, minimum and maximum temperature were recorded daily inside the shed as well as in hot chamber throughout the experimental period. For superovulation of animals, standard protocol developed at the Institute, using FSH (Ovagen 5.4 mg in eight injections) and PMSG (200 IU) was followed. Various sexual behaviour parameters (circling, tail fanning, head turning, standing and approaching to ram) and estrus incidence (onset of estrus and estrus duration) were observed in both the groups. The different estrus symptoms were graded subjectively on arbitrary scale of 0-5 where 0 representing no sexual behaviour (0%) and 5 representing maximum intensity in sexual behaviour (100%). Estrus was detected with the help of a marked aproned ram of proven vigor at six hourly intervals. The average percent values for sexual behaviour parameters recorded in Group-1 and Group-2 animals were 53.7${\pm}$3.76 vs. 41.1${\pm}$2.18 for circling, 71.8${\pm}$5.42 vs. 49.0${\pm}$4.41 for tail fanning, 64.7${\pm}$3.30 vs. 44.5${\pm}$4.34 for head turning, 90.1${\pm}$3.16 vs. 75.8${\pm}$4.02 for standing and 63.8${\pm}$4.8 vs. 41.9${\pm}$4.58 for approaching to ram. Animals exposed to thermal stress had significantly lower values of these sexual behaviour parameters. The animals kept in shed exhibited estrus earlier (25.4${\pm}$1.12 h) and duration was higher (37.7${\pm}$1.59 h) as compared to animals exposed to thermal stress i.e. 30.6${\pm}$1.16 h and 31.7${\pm}$3.57 h, respectively. The findings of the study indicate that thermal stress reduces the intensity of sexual behaviour in ewes and may result in failure of the animal to mate and conceive.


Sheep;Synchronization;Estrus;Thermal Stress;Sexual Behaviour


Supported by : National Agricultural Technology


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