Suckling, male effect and kisspeptin in the reproductive management of ewes in postpartum anestrus


José M. Hernández-Hernández
Jaime Gallegos-Sánchez
Carlos M. Becerril-Pérez
Arturo Pro-Martínez
Ponciano Pérez-Hernández


lamb breeding, postpartum, LH, Pelibuey sheep, first lambing ovulation.


Objective: To describe the management strategies of controlled suckling and the male effect to reduce postpartum anestrus, and to show the participation of kisspeptin to regulate the effect of both factors.

Design/Methodology/Approach: A review of scientific publications was conducted, in order to show the importance of suckling and the male effect as strategies to reduce postpartum anestrus in the ewe, as well as the relation of kisspeptin with both factors.

Results: Seasonal anestrus can be avoided with the use of breeds adapted to the local environment, such as Pelibuey. Postpartum anestrus occurs mainly as a result of suckling, since the latter inhibits the pulsating secretion of the gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) and the luteinizing hormone (LH). The exact path of this inhibition is unknown, although it seems that endogenous opioid peptides and kisspeptin are intermediaries. Controlled suckling and the male effect are management strategies that improve the reproductive behavior of postpartum ewes. Kisspeptin regulates the influence of the male effect through the secretion of GnRH/LH.

Study Limitations/Implications: To understand the impacts of suckling and the male effect on the duration of postpartum anestrus, as well as the participation of kisspeptin in the regulation of both effects, will allow designing management strategies to improve the reproductive efficiency of the ewes.

Findings/Conclusions: Controlled suckling and the male effect reduce postpartum anestrus and improve the reproductive behavior of the ewes; advancing knowledge of the kisspeptin effect could improve the effectiveness of both techniques.

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