Evaluation of Postpartum Reproductive Performance in Brahman Females with Divergent Residual Feed Intake

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Poovey, Anna Kathryn
feed efficiency; nonesterified fatty acids; reproduction
thesis / dissertation description
These studies were designed to evaluate the relationships that exist between residual feed intake, parity, rate of return to estrous cyclicity and nonesterified fatty acid (NEFA) concentrations, as well as changes in both body weight (BW) and body condition score (BCS) during the prepartum and postpartum time periods in Brahman females. Residual feed intake classification was evaluated for all females during the course of 70-d trials conducted prior to these experiments. Heifers (n = 30) and cows (n = 63) were evaluated for BW and BCS, as well as by collection of weekly blood samples beginning five weeks prior to calving. Blood serum samples were utilized to assay for NEFA concentrations by enzymatic colorimetry both pre- and postpartum. Multiparous females (n = 44) were sampled weekly for five weeks following parturition. Beginning 28d postpartum, weekly blood samples were collected and assayed for progesterone concentrations by radioimmunoassay to determine return to estrous cyclicity. Following calving, females were exposed to epididymectomized bulls fitted with chin-ball markers to aid in estrus detection. After detection, estrus females were evaluated for presence of a corpus luteum by trans-rectal ultrasonography. Prepartum, it was found that inefficient females had a greater BCS than efficient females (P < 0.05), significant BW changes occurred during the sampling period (P < 0.05) and moderate to low correlations existed between BW and BCS. Additionally, it was found that the interaction between RFI x parity had a significant affect upon NEFA concentrations, BW and BCS (P < 0.05). During the postpartum period it was found that efficient females were lower in both BW and BCS (P < 0.05), no change occurred over time in NEFA concentrations (P > 0.1) and a greater pregnancy rate was achieved in efficient females, as well as in females that returned to estrous cyclicity rapidly (< 90d) following calving.