Flushing and reproductive competency in goat and sheep production
Keywords:Flushing, Reproduction, Goat, Sheep
The primary fortitude of this discussion is to overview the effect of flushing on reproductive competency in goat and sheep production. Flushing is meant to supply high calorific value and/or proteinaceous feed prior, during, and after mating. It has been a common nutritional management practice among commercial goat and sheep producers to increase ovulation, conception rates, and implantation rates hence the increased number of kids/lambs born. This event is on the premise that there is a strong relationship between nutrition and reproductive performance in goats and sheep. Like sheep, goats also have high chances for multiple ovulations, but this potential may be compromised by nutritional stress experienced prior, during, and after mating. Since ewes/does nutritional demands fluctuate throughout the reproductive cycle, strategic feed supplementation (flushing) can be an essential management tool to improve reproductive efficiency. The basic understanding is that fortified nutrition, especially energy, just before and during the early breeding season increases the ovulation rate and hence the lambing or kidding rate. Twinning and triplet at birth are sometimes a clear indication of increased ovulation rate due to flushing. Some of the factors that influence flushing are a dietary source, body weight and scoring, and timing and duration of flushing. Compared with a high-calorie diet, a high-protein diet can increase the ovulation rate of the ewe/does. Satisfactory body condition is critical for acceptable conception rates, however outside certain biologic limits, flushing is not effective. Supply of high proteinaceous and high calorific value feed prior, during, and after mating does not always increase lambing or kidding rates; but may enhance the number of females cycling early in the breeding season, consequentially in the birth of a larger portion of the offspring early in the lambing or kidding season. From this discussion can conclude that flushing has a significant influence on the reproductive performance of ewes/ does.
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