Abstract Fertility is a fundamental phenotypic trait used for achieving optimal production efficiency and, no easily adoptable or precise tools are currently available. In this study, anogenital distances (AGD; anus to clitoris - AC and anus to fourchette - AF) were measured twice from 80 Merino ewes and 80 ewe hoggets to predict fertility. Fertility was measured by evaluating the pregnancy scanning results. Measurements of ADG were performed by using digital callipers and high-resolution images. Overall means of measures were greater for the AF in pregnant ewes compared to dry ewes and no association was found for the AC distance except being shorter for hoggets with callipers. The relationship found between one of the AGD, the AF, and pregnancy status demonstrates the potential to use this trait as a cost-effective method for estimation of fertility that can be easily adopted by producers, particularly in hoggets. Keywords: breeding, clitoris, imaging, pregnancy status, sheep

Dunstana, LJ, Hebarta ML, Briena FD, McCoard SA, and Caetano M

New Zealand Journal of Animal Science and Production, Volume 83, Rotorua, 14-16, 2023
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