Effect of once-daily suckling and parity on follicular dynamics in postpartum Brahman cows
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Changes in follicular dynamics were monitored in forty-four Brahman multiparous (n=30) and primiparous (n=14) cows randomly assigned to control (n=22) and once-daily suckling (n=22) treatments. Daily transrectal ultrasonography images were taken from d 21 through 88 post-calving or detection of first estrus. Suckling treatment was introduced on d 28 post-calving. Follicular waves were profiled and characterized by development and regression of a variable number of small and medium sized (2-9 mm) follicles before one of the follicles differentiated and became the dominant follicle. Primiparous cows had 34% more (P<0.04) follicular waves (4.8 + 0.6) than did the multiparous cows (3.1 + 0.4) prior to first ovulation (FO). Once-daily suckled multiparous cows had 37% fewer (P<0.03) follicular waves (2.4 + 0.5) prior to FO than controls. Interval from calving to FO was reduced (P < 0.05) by an average of 12 d by once-daily suckling in multiparous cows. Primiparous cows developed 30% more (P<0.02) dominant follicles (6.3 + 0.6) from d 21 to estrus than did the multiparous cows (4.3 + 0.4). Ovulation before d 88 occurred in 42 of 44 (95%) cows. Behavioral estrus was not detected in 40 of 42 (95%) cows at FO. The length of the subsequent estrous cycle was short (<17 days) in 39 of 42 (93%) cows. We can conclude from these data that ovarian function is resumed shortly after parturition and ovulation of a dominant follicle ends postpartum anestrous. Primiparous cows experienced more follicular waves and therefore grew more dominant follicles prior to first estrus. Once-daily suckling hastened return to estrus and reduced the number of follicular waves prior to first post-partum estrus in multiparous cows. The incidence of first ovulation being associated with behavioral estrus was low. Short cycles followed first ovulation. It appears obligatory that postpartum Brahman cows experience a silent ovulation with formation of functional luteal tissue prior to resumption of normal estrous cyclicity.
Ramirez, Javier, III (2003). Effect of once-daily suckling and parity on follicular dynamics in postpartum Brahman cows. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from