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Asian-Australas J Anim Sci > Volume 11(6); 1998 > Article
Animal Reproduction and Physiology
Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences 1998;11(6): 648-654.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.1998.648    Published online December 1, 1998.
Mammary Gland Indices at the End of Lactation in Japanese Thin-tail Ewes with Different Litter Sizes
W. Manalu, M. Y. Sumaryadi
Abstract
Twenty-four Javanese thin-tail ewes (11, 9, and 4 ewes giving birth to 1, 2, and 3 lambs, respectively) with similar body weight and age at breeding were used to study serum progesterone concentrations during pregnancy, milk production during lactation, and mammary gland indices at the end of lactation (3 months postpartum). The results of the experiment showed that averages serum progesterone concentrations during pregnancy in the ewes giving birth to twin and triplet lambs were higher (p < 0.01) than those giving birth to a single lamb. Ewes giving birth to 3 lambs had higher (p < 0.01) mammary dry fat-free tissue (DFFT) (by 31 and 34%), DNA concentration (by 25 and 16%) and RNA concentration (by 29 and 16%) at the end of lactation than those giving birth to 1 and 2 lambs. There was no difference in mammary collagen, protein and glycogen concentrations at the end of lactation among litter sizes. Ewes giving birth to 3 labs had higher (p < 0.01) total mammary DNA content (by 64 and 61%) and RNA content (by 69 and 53%) at the end of lactation than those giving birth to 1 and 2 lambs. There was no difference in total mammary collagen, protein and glycogen contents at the end of lactation among litter sizes. Even though ewes with higher litter size had numerically higher milk production, there was no significant difference in milk production per 4 h among litter sizes. The results of the experiment indicated that ewes having higher litter size had greater mammary cell number and synthetic activities at the end of lactation. The results suggested that ewes with higher progesterone concentrations and better developed mammary glands during pregnancy could maintain higher cell number and activities throughout lactation.
Keywords: Litter Size; Mammary Gland Indices; Lactating Sheep


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