Sexual behavior and ejaculate characteristics in Pêga donkeys (Equus asinus) mounting estrous horse mares (Equus caballus)

I. F. Canisso, G. R. Carvalho, M. C.G.Davies Morel, J. D. Guimarães, S. M. McDonnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The objectives were to (i) characterize sexual behavior of donkey stallions (jacks; Equus asinus) during on-farm semen collection using estrous horse mares (mares; Equus caballus); (ii) compare behavior of young (less experienced) versus older (more experienced) jacks; (iii) determine whether semen suitable for artificial insemination (AI) could be collected using mares; and (iv) determine the suitability of using mares in field collection of semen from jacks. Six Pêga jacks (3.5 to 16 yr old), previously conditioned to breed mares, were used. Mount mares were confirmed in estrus by a teaser horse stallion (stallion) and a jack. Semen was collected with an artificial vagina, at intervals of 48 to 72 h (180 collections). The mean ± SD (young [3.5 yr] vs. old [14 to 16 yr]) were Flehmen response frequency, 7.4 ± 5.8 (8.1 ± 3.0 vs. 7.0 ± 2.0); number of mounts without erection, 1.1 ± 1.3 (2.1 ± 1.4 vs. 1.2 ± 0.4, P < 0.05); latency from first exposure to mare to full erection on the ejaculatory mount, 18.3 ± 17.7 min (25.3 ± 21.3 vs. 12.2 ± 6.2, P < 0.05); latency from erection to insertion, 5.1 ± 3.5 sec (5.3 ± 3.8 vs. 4.8 ± 3.2); and duration of copulation from insertion to dismount after ejaculation, 25.4 ± 7.8 sec (22.1 ± 2.9 vs. 28.1 ± 9.3). In all jacks, sexual behavior was generally normal, with the notable absence of open mouth behavior. Mare estrous behavior was markedly less intense than that in the presence of a stallion and usually absent. Semen characteristics were gel free volume, 47.3 ± 28.7 mL; gel volume, 71.8 ± 54.8 mL; total motility, 84.3 ± 6.0%; progressive motility, 74.3 ± 74.5%; sperm vigor, 3.9 ± 0.5 (scale 1 to 5); sperm concentration, 253 × 106 cells/mL; and total number of sperm, 10.3 × 109 cells. Copulation duration was significantly correlated with gel free volume (r = 0.9) and gel volume (r = 0.7). We concluded that (i) the sexual behavior of jacks during semen collection using mares was similar to that reported for natural mating to jennies, (ii) precopulatory and copulatory behavior for the young (less experienced) jacks and older (more experienced) jacks were generally similar (except number of mounts without erection and latency to full erection); (iii) semen obtained using mares as stimulus and mount females was similar to that reported with estrous jennies; and (iv) semen collection from previously conditioned jacks, using estrous mares, was appropriate for field collection of semen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-63
Number of pages8
JournalTheriogenology
Volume73
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Donkey
  • Estrous mare
  • Jacks
  • Semen collection
  • Sexual behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Small Animals
  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Equine

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