Relationship of testicular growth and size to age, body weight and onset of puberty in Menz ram lambs.

Abstract

Scrotal circumference as an index of testes size, along with body weight, wither height, heart girth and body condition score were measured fortnightly for 114 Menz ram lambs from weaning (91+/-7 SD days) until puberty, which was defined as age at first collection of an ejaculate with 50 x 10(6) spermatozoa and 10% motility. The animals were maintained on poor (n=28), low (n=29), medium (n=29) or high (n=28) levels of nutrition through grazing and supplementation. Further, half the lambs in each group were drenched for endoparasites. Daily gains in live weight, wither height, heart girth and scrotal circumference were 48.5+/-1.6 g, 0.05+/-0.01 cm, 0.07+/-0.01 cm and 0.07+/-0.03 cm, respectively for the period from weaning to puberty and varied with level of nutrition (P<0.05 to 0.001) but not with drenching or its interaction with nutrition level (P>0.10). Scrotal circumference increased linearly and was strongly correlated with age, body weight, wither height, and heart girth (r = 0.83 to 0.85, P<0.001), and lamb weight could be predicted by the equation: 6.35 + 0.53 scrotal circumference (R(2) = 0.73). Mean age, body weight and condition score at puberty were 288+/-6 days, 19.3+/-0.4 kg and 2.6+/-0.06, respectively, and varied due to season of birth, level of nutrition and weaning weight (P<0.01 to 0.001). The nutrition level also influenced (P<0.001) scrotal circumference at puberty, averaging 21.5+/-0.3 cm. It was concluded that postweaning nutrition management had a strong influence on lamb weight gain, which in turn was related to testicular growth and puberty onset in Menz ram lambs. The suitability of scrotal size measurement as a criterion for early selection of tropical ram lambs is emphasised.

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@article{MukasaMugerwa1992RelationshipOT, title={Relationship of testicular growth and size to age, body weight and onset of puberty in Menz ram lambs.}, author={E. Mukasa-Mugerwa and Z Ezaz}, journal={Theriogenology}, year={1992}, volume={38 5}, pages={979-88} }