R. Bras. Zootec.05/Jun/2019;48:e20180209.
Evaluation of some reproductive traits of Pelibuey ewes under humid tropical conditions of Mexico
We evaluated the effect of some environmental factors on age at first lambing (AFL) and lambing to conception interval (LCI) of Pelibuey ewes under the humid tropical conditions of Mexico. Ewes grazed on Tanzania (Panicum maximum), Bermuda (Cynodon dactylon), and Brachiaria grass (Brachiaria humidicola) and received hay in the corral in the months of grass scarcity. Reproduction was continuous during the year. Data of 839 lambings from 334 ewes registered from 2009 to 2017 were analyzed using survival analysis procedures. The statistical model for AFL included the effects of year, season, and litter size at lambing, whereas that for LCI included year and season plus parity number of ewe and litter size at weaning. The overall means ± SD for AFL and LCI were 551.6±144.8 and 145.4±113.1 days, and their medians were 510 and 98 days, respectively. Only year of lambing had a significant effect on AFL, whereas LCI was affected by year, parity number, and litter size at lambing (P<0.05). Both AFL and LCI means did not show any trend with advancing years. The largest AFL and LCI means and medians corresponded to the first-parity ewes. In addition, single birth ewes had the longest LCI means and median. Therefore, year of lambing affects AFL, whereas year of lambing, parity number, and litter size at weaning affect LCI of Pelibuey ewes, indicating that these factors should be considered in the development of sound strategies to improve sheep production.