Relationship of testicular development with age, body weight, semen characteristics and testosterone in Kivircik ram lambs
The study was conducted to measure the development of several testicular characteristics and to investigate the relationship between testicular parameters with body growth, semen characteristics and serum testosterone levels in growing ram lambs. Seventeen single born Kivircik ram lambs from three to four year old ewes were used. When the rams were two months old measurements of the length, diameter and circumference of their testes and body weights started, and blood samples were collected at 20-day intervals for the next 12 months. From seven to 14 months of age semen was collected at monthly intervals. There was a gradual and linear increase in testicular dimensions from two to 11 months of age. A rapid increase in all testicular dimensions was observed between 140 to 160 days of age. All measurements of testes, live weight, age and serum testosterone concentrations were positively and significantly correlated with each other. While a significant positive correlation was found at seven and eight months of age between all testicular measurements and semen volume and motility, no such correlations were observed between nine and 14 months of age. From seven to 14 months of age no correlation was measured between serum testosterone concentrations and spermatological characteristics. These results demonstrated that testicular measurements, especially scrotal circumference, can be used as criteria for early selection of ram lambs to be used in breeding at relatively young ages.
Keywords: Kivircik lamb, testicular development, semen characteristics, testosterone
South African Journal of Animal Science Vol. 37 (4) 2007: pp. 269-274