Effects of melatonin implantation on the fertility potentials of Kivircik and Charollais ewes and rams during the non-breeding season
This study examined the effect of melatonin implantation during the non-breeding season on the reproductive performance of ewes and the testicular dimensions of rams. In seasonally anestrus Kivircik and Charollais ewes and rams were subjected to melatonin. Estrus response was significantly higher in treated than control ewes of both breeds (p < 0.001). The pregnancy rate was significantly lower (p < 0.001) in the control than in the treated animals. The twinning rate was significantly lower in melatonin implanted Kivircik than Charollais ewes (p < 0.05). The testicular dimensions after 42 days of melatonin treatment increased in both breeds. Scrotal length (SL) increased in Kivircik and Charollais rams (p < 0.01). The increase in scrotal circumference (SC) was more marked in the Charollais (P < 0.01) than in the Kivircik rams. There was a large increase in testicular volume (TV) in both Kivircik (p < 0.01) and Charollais (p < 0.001) rams. This study shows that melatonin implants can be applied to induce estrus in ewes approximately four months earlier than breeding season. Melatonin implantation in the non-breeding season significantly increased testicular dimensions in Kivircik and Charollais rams thus increasing their reproductive potential.