REPRODUCTIVE PERFORMANCE OF IRAQI AWASSI EWES OWNED BY SHEEP OWNERS AND EXTENSION FARMS IN RESPONSE TO FLUSHING AND ESTRUS SYNCHRONIZATION REGIMES

Abstract

The objectives of this study were to 1) investigate the reproductive performance of Iraqi Awassi ewes as influences by flushing and estrus synchronization regimes as on sheep owners and extension farms, and 2) to compare the reproductive performance of these flocks between the extension and sheep producer’s farms as affected by these two regimes during the period from April 2011 to April 2012. Two hundred and sixty five Awassi ewes pertaining to owners from 12 Iraqi provinces (Experiment 1) were fed on 500 g / head / day of concentrate diet of 16 % crude protein and 2600 Kcal / kg energy for 3 weeks pre-mating. Thereafter, ewes were inserted with 13 days vaginal sponges, followed by I.M. injection of 500 IU equine chorionic gonadotropin (eCG).Simultaneously,28 Awassi ewes pertaining to extension farms in four Iraqi provinces (Experiment 2) were used for similar programs. Higher (P < 0.0 1) fertility and conception rates were observed in flocks belong to sheep owners in nine provinces as compared with remaining provinces. Ewes in Najaf and Nineveh exhibited higher (P < 0.05) litter size as compared with ewes in other provinces. Greater (P < 0.0 1) lambing and twinning rates were noticed in producer’s flocks of Najaf province in comparison with the others. On extension farms, ewes in Babil and Najaf provinces exhibited higher fertility and conception rates as compared with Basra and Misan. Greater (P < 0.01) lambing and twinning rates were noted in Misan and Najaf provinces respectively. Excluding data of litter size, the overall reproductive performance was better in Awassi ewes pertaining to sheep owners as compared with those in extension farms.In conclusion; flushing and estrus synchronization regimes play an important role to improve the reproductive performance of Awassi ewes owned by owners rather than the extension farms.