Photoperiod and its relationship to sheep reproduction


Anayansi Ivette Ramírez Ramírez
Guadalupe Idilia Delgado Tiburcio
Francisco Cruz-Espinoza
Alejandra C . Herrera-Corredor
Jaime Gallegos-Sánchez


Photoperiod; seasonality; postpartum; reproduction; ewe; reproduction


Objective: To describe the seasonal variations throughout the year (day length), as one of the main environmental cues used by ewes to determine the most favorable time for breeding.

Design/methodology/approach: A description of the main factors affecting ewe reproduction (photoperiod, suckling, postpartum period, nutrition, sociosexual effects) was assessed by a review of documentary information.

Results: The inhibition of reproductive activity during one time of the year is a common process in most animal species to prevent births from occurring at an unfavorable time for the survival of the offspring. The seasonality of reproduction (northern latitude) allows births to occur in late winter or early spring when climatic conditions are the most favorable for the offspring development.

Limitations/implications: The duration of the anestrus season (seasonal or postpartum) is influenced by the photoperiod and other factors. In Mexico, a small percentage of Criollo and Pelibuey ewes show a short duration of seasonal anestrus; that is, they show almost continuous annual reproductive activity. Therefore, to improve the reproductive efficiency of ewes, it is important to precisely determine the factors that affect their reproduction to improve management and increase the profits in the production units.

Findings/Conclusions: Photoperiod is the main environmental factor regulating the annual reproductive cycle of the ewes, it occurs through very complex and varied mechanisms that communicate the visual system with the gonads through nervous and endocrine pathways.

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