Original Research

Preliminary results on the use of diagnostic ultrasonography as a management tool to quantify egg production potential in breeding ostrich (Struthio camelus australis) females

H. Lambrechts, S.W.P. Cloete, D. Swart, J.P.C. Greyling
Journal of the South African Veterinary Association | Vol 73, No 2 | a554 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jsava.v73i2.554 | © 2002 H. Lambrechts, S.W.P. Cloete, D. Swart, J.P.C. Greyling | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 July 2002 | Published: 06 July 2002

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H. Lambrechts,
S.W.P. Cloete,
D. Swart,
J.P.C. Greyling,

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Abstract

An ostrich breeding flock, joined as individual breeding pairs (n = 136 pairs), was used to investigate the possibility of diagnostic ultrasonography as a method to predict the reproductive performance of ostrich females during a breeding season. Follicular activity was easily detected and quantified by using diagnostic ultrasonography. One to 8 follicles were recorded in 25 % of females scanned at the beginning of the 9-month breeding season. At the end of the breeding season, 1-3 follicles were observed in 28.7 % females. Females in which follicular activity was observed came into production earlier than those in which no follicles were observed, with the mean (±SE) number of days to the production of the 1st egg being 22.3 ± 12.5 and 87.4 ± 7.2 days, respectively. Females in which follicular activity was observed at the beginning of the breeding season, produced on average 181 % more eggs during the 1st month of the breeding season (P < 0.01) than females in which no follicular activity was observed (6.67 ± 0.70 vs 2.37 ± 0.41 eggs). Egg production over the first 2 months of breeding and over the entire breeding season were similarly affected (P <0.01), with the mean number of eggs produced over the first 2 months of the breeding season being 14.7 ± 1.5 for females with observed follicular activity and 7.4 ± 0.9 eggs for females with no observed follicular activity. Females in which follicular activity was observed at the end of the breeding season produced on average 108 % more eggs (P<0.01) during the last month of the breeding season than females in which no follicular activity was observed (2.77 ± 0.43 vs. 1.33 ± 0.27 eggs). There was a tendency (P = 0.06) for egg production over the last 2 months to be similarly affected (6.10 ± 0.85 vs 4.19 ± 0.54 eggs). No relationship with egg production over the entire breeding season was found for the end-of-the-breeding-season observations. Diagnostic ultrasonography can thus be used as a management tool to identify reproductively healthy ostrich females and also females with a higher egg production potential over a period of 2 months after or prior to assessment. Future studies should focus on the development of the technique to predict reproductive performance over entire breeding seasons for selection purposes.

Keywords

Breeding Ostriches; Diagnostic Ultrasonography; Flock Breeding; Follicular Activity

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