In breeding geese, natural mating applies. The objective of this study was to determine seasonal- and age-related changes in the sexual activity of ganders. Moreover, T, T4 and T3 plasma levels were evaluated. The study was conducted on 2/3-year-old males (n=15) and 1- or 2/3-year-old females (1♂:4♀). Sexual activity of ganders was characterized through the frequency of: courtship, attempts at and successful copulations and total mating activity (MA). Reproductive results manifested by egg production and fertility were recorded. Laying percentage (January-June) was 37.1 and 28.6% for 1-, and 2/3-year-old geese, respectively. MA was noted before the sexual maturity of females and the T level peak. MA was highest at the onset and during peak production (March) for ganders kept with 1-, and 2/3-year-old geese, respectively. From April to May a decrease in fertility with a reduction of the frequency of copulations was observed. At this time low levels of T were noted. The effect of goose age on the MA was shown, with higher frequency of copulations for ganders kept with 1-year-old geese. We suggest that in the successful seasonal mating in geese, social factors such as the presence of females and female age play an important role. The reduction in fertility during the spring period may be associated with decreases in the efficiency of successive mating sequences. The higher frequency of copulations without affecting fertility, for ganders kept with young geese, may be because of differences in sperm transfer or storage/transport efficiency.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was financially supported by the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education , project no. N N311 317136
- Domestic geese
- Seasonal reproduction
- Sexual behaviour
- Thyroid hormones