Major loses occur to animal agriculture due to inadequate expression of male and female sexual behaviors, which results in delayed reproduction and/or production of too few offspring. Research on the underlying physiological, endocrine, and environmental influences on reproductive behavior will contribute to the amelioration of these problems. Many breeds of goats, the most important agricultural species in developing areas of the world, exhibit pronounced seasonality in reproduction, thus are limited in their reproductive efficiency or performance by this inherent period of non-productivity. In addition, some males inexplicably fail to show interest in estrous females, resulting in reduced flock fertility. Careful examinations of endocrine-environment interactions that may regulate the expression of sexual behavior in small ruminants are lacking. In addition, despite thousands of years of domestication, with breeding largely controlled by humans, female goats exhibit choice among males. This makes this species an interesting model to study the evolution of mating strategies and sexual selection. The objective of this research is to examine multifaceted relationships among social, behavioral, environmental and endocrine factors affecting reproductive behavior in the goat. The studies will investigate the behavior and underlying physiology of the expression of behavioral and chemical cues that females employ to discriminate among males. We will also study the function of female-female mounting and tail wagging as attractive and proceptive behaviors in sexually active goats.
|Effective start/end date||10/1/11 → 9/30/16|
- National Institute of Food and Agriculture (National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA))