Improving reproductive efficiency of goats of Pakistan
PAKISTAN is an agricultural country,and the livestock sector plays a vital role in national growth, food security, and poverty alleviation.
Goats are raised for meat, milk, fibre, pelts and skins. They are the main source of animal protein for people, particularly in rural areas.
They can grow and reproduce under harsh conditions in which other livestock species would perish.
Goat is considered a ‘poor man cow’ due to its small size and high production capacity of both milk and meat.
Goats are classified as seasonal breeders, which means, their reproductive activities are limited to a specific season (September to November; March to April) only.
There is little reproduction during the non-breeding season due to summer stress in long days (May-August).
Therefore, the reproductive efficiency of goats is compromised during the non-breeding season in terms of low oestrous cyclicity, poor semen quality of bucks, reduced fertility, greater incidence of early or late gestational embryonic losses, and sporadic patterns of births.
To address these issues of lower reproductive efficiency in Beetal goats during the non-breeding season, this scribe did a series of novel experiments during his PhD research under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Mian Abdul Sattar and Dr. Ejaz Ahmad at the Department of Theriogenology UVAS, Lahore.
The objectives of the research were to develop a simple and suitable method for the farmers and breeder to enhance the reproductive efficiency of goats (male and female) especially during the low breeding season. Two experiments were conducted to determine
1) Effects of immunization against inhibin subunit on ovarian structures, pregnancy rate, embryonic and fetal losses, and prolificacy rate in goats where estrus was induced during the non-breeding season.
2) Long term effects of immunization against inhibin on fresh and post-thawed semen quality and sperm kinematics during low and peak breeding seasons in Beetal bucks
In Experiment I, goats were immunized with inhibin immunogen and a booster shot was given at 28 days interval.
Animals were synchronized with intravaginal sponges and ovarian status was monitored with ultrasonography daily from sponge insertion up to ovulation.
The results indicated that the twinning percentage and the overall number of kids per doe were higher in inhibin immunized goats.
The data from this study indicate that 0.5mg is the recommended dose of inhibin immunogen to enhance the reproductive performance during the non-breeding season in Beetal goats when estrus is induced using a progestin-based treatment regimen.
Experiment II was aimed to determine the carry-over effects of immunization against inhibin á-subunit on fresh and post-thawed sperm quality during peak breeding and low breeding seasons.
The results indicated that immunization against inhibin significantly improved the post-thaw sperm parameters.
Taken together, the current findings suggest that immunization against inhibin enhances the reproductive efficiency of male and female goats during the non-breeding season.
It is suggested that the progressive goat farmers should use this novel strategy in their herds during non-breeding season to maximize fertility and profit.
—The writer is Lecturer (PhD scholar) UVAS Lahore.