Reproductive Response of Ewes Fed with Taiwan Grass Hay (Pennisetum purpureum Schum.) Supplemented with Duckweed (Lemna sp. and Spirodela sp.)

  • Zetina-Cordoba, P. (Universidad Politecnica de Huatusco) ;
  • Ortega-Cerrilla, M.E. (Colegio de Postgraduados) ;
  • Torres-Esqueda, M.T. Sanchez (Colegio de Postgraduados) ;
  • Herrera-Haro, J.G. (Colegio de Postgraduados) ;
  • Ortega-Jimenez, E. (Colegio de Postgraduados, Campus Veracruz) ;
  • Reta-Mendiola, J.L. (Colegio de Postgraduados, Campus Veracruz) ;
  • Vilaboa-Arroniz, J. (Colegio de Postgraduados, Campus Veracruz)
  • Received : 2012.01.22
  • Accepted : 2012.05.10
  • Published : 2012.08.01


The effect of duckweed (DW) supplementation was evaluated on dry matter intake (DMI), presence and duration of estrus, percentage of ewes repeating estrus and pregnancy rate, as well as the concentration of progesterone ($P_4$) in multiparous crossbred ewes from Pelibuey, Dorper, and Katahdin breeds, fed with Taiwan grass hay (TWH). Eighteen ewes with $39.7{\pm}4kg$ mean body weight, kept in individual pens, were randomly assigned to one of the following treatments: $T_1$: TWH, $T_2$: TWH plus 200 g DW, $T_3$: TWH plus 300 g DW. The ewes were synchronized with 40 mg fluorogestone acetate (FGA) and 400 UI equine chorionic gonadotropin (eCG). Data were analyzed as a completely randomized design using the GLM procedure. DW supplementation had no effect on dry matter intake (p>0.05); however, a slight decrease of TWH intake was observed as DW supplementation increased. No differences (p>0.05) were found in the beginning of estrus, percentage of ewes presenting it, its duration, or pregnancy rate. There were no differences (p>0.05) on $P_4$ concentration among treatments, or $treatment{\times}period$ interaction (p>0.05). However the period was significant (p<0.01), since the $P_4$ levels increased as time increased after the removal of the FGA device and eCG application.


  1. Abdulrazak, S. A., R. W. Muinga, W. Thorpe and E. R. Orskov. 1996. The effects of supplementation with Gliricidia sepium or Leucaena leucocephala forage on intake, digestion, and live-weight gains of Bos Taurus${\times}$Bos indicus steers offered napier grass. Anim. Sci. 63:381-388.
  2. AOAC. 2005. Association of official analytical chemists. Official methods of analysis of the AOAC. 18th ed. AOAC. Arlington, VA, USA.
  3. Aregheore, E. M. 2006. Utilization of concentrate supplements containing varying levels of copra cake (Cocos nucifera) by growing goats fed a basal diet of napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum). Small Rum. Res. 64:87-93.
  4. Bairagi, A., K. S. Ghosh, S. K. Sen and A. K. Ray. 2002. Duckweed (Lemna polyrhiza) leaf meal as a source of feedstuff in formulated diets for rohu (Labeo rohita Ham.) fingerlings after fermentation with a fish intestinal bacterium. Bioresour. Technol. 85:17-24.
  5. Bartlewski, P. M., A. P. Beard and C. Rawlings. 1999. An ultrasonographic study of luteal function in breeds of sheep with different ovulation rates. Theriogenology 52:115-130.
  6. Bell, A. W. and D. E. Bauman. 2006. Regulation of amino acid metabolism in dairy and beef cattle. In: 21st Annual Southwest Nutrition and Management Conference. Tempe, Arizona. 34-44, EUA.
  7. Bretzlaff, K., J. Edwards, D. Forrest and L. Nuti. 1993. Ultrasonographic determination of pregnancy in small ruminants. Vet. Med. 1:12-19.
  8. Camacho-Ronquillo, J. C., J. C. Rodriguez-Castillo, J. E. Hernandez-Hernandez, A. Pro-Martínez, C. M. Becerril-Perez and J. Gallegos-Sanchez. 2008. Caracteristicas reproductivas de ovejas Pelibuey sincronizadas e inducidas a la pubertad. Arch. Latinoam. Prod. Anim. 16:18-24.
  9. Castillo, M., A. Padilla, J. Suniaga, A. Betancourt and E. Marcano. 2005. Analisis de Lemna sp. del Lago de Maracaibo para su eventual utilizacion en la alimentación de rumiantes. Agricultura Andina 10:3-8.
  10. Castillo, R. H., Z. M. Valencia and J. M. Barruecos. 1972. Comportamiento reproductivo del borrego Tabasco mantenido en clima tropical y subtropical. I. Índice de fertilidad. Tec. Pec. Mex. 20:52-56.
  11. Cheng, J. J. and A. M. Stomp. 2009. Growing duckweed to recover nutrients from wastewaters and for production of fuel ethanol and animal feed. Clean:Soil Air Water 37:17-26.
  12. Cordova-Izquierdo, A., G. Ruiz-Lang, J. Saltijeral-Oaxaca, J. F. Perez-Gutierrez and T. Degefa-Dadi. 1999. Induccion y sincronizacion de celos en ovejas criollas anestricas estacionales con esponjas vaginales impregnadas con FGA y PMSG inyectable. Arch. Zootec. 48:437-440.
  13. Cottle, D. J. 1991. Feeding. In: Australian Sheep and Wool Handbook. Inkata Press, Melbourne, Australia. pp. 331-372.
  14. Cruz, L. C., S. B. Fernandez and R. H. Perez. 1994. Variaciones estacionales en presentacion de ovulacion, fertilizacion y sobrevivencia embrionaria en ovejas Tabasco en el tropico humedo. Vet. Mex. 25:23-27.
  15. Da Silva, M. J. A., S. L. M. Bonnecarrére, Y. I. Koslozki, L. L. Dorneles, L. M. Trevisan, R. M. Vizzotto and J. R. L. Cadorin. 2007. Dwarf elephant grass hay (Pennisetum purpureum Schum. cv Mott) digestion by sheep at different levels of intake. Cienc. Rural. 37:482-487.
  16. Evans, G., and T. J. Robinson. 1980. The control of fertility in sheep: endocrine and ovarian responses to progestagen-PMSG treatment in the breeding season and in anoestrus. J. Agric. Sci. 94:69-88.
  17. Fernandez, A., D. Baru, V. Lopez, M. M. Rey, M. Urioste and M. Villegas. 1997. Studies on the duration of oestrus in the ewe outdoors. Produccion Ovina. 10:53-62.
  18. Fernandez, D., D. Formoso, O. Casco, M. E. Delgado, A. P. Garcia, and W. Ibanez. 2007. Efecto de un flushing focalizado utilizando Lotus uliginosus cv Maku, bloques proteicos y expeler de soja sobre la tasa ovulatoria y fecundidad de ovejas Corriedale. Arch. Med. Vet. 10:33-42.
  19. Fletcher, Y. C. 1981. Effects of energy and protein intake on ovulation rate associated with the feeding of Lupin grain to Merino ewes. Aust. J. Agric. Res. 32:79-87.
  20. Fowler, D. G. and J. G. Wilkins. 1984. Diagnosis of pregnancy and number of fetuses in sheep by real-time ultrasound imaging I. Effects of number of fetuses, stage of gestation, operator and breed of ewe on accuracy of diagnosis. Livest. Prod. Sci. 11:137-450.
  21. Fukuy, Y., N. Ishikawa, R. Ishida and T. Ogosi. 1999. Comparison of fertility of estrous synchronized ewes with four different intravaginal devices during the breeding season. J. Reprod. Dev. 45:335.343.
  22. Gallego, L., R. Berbabeu and P. Molina. 1994. Produccion de leche: factores de variacion. In: Ganado ovino. Raza Machenga (Ed. L. Gallego, A. Torres and G. Caja). Ediciones Mundi-Prensa. Madrid. p. 430.
  23. Gonzalez, R. G. A., M. Vazquez, O. Duarte and R. A. Gonzalez. 2000. Efecto del morueco y la epoca de empadre sobre el comportamiento reproductivo en ovejas Pelibuey y Blackbelly. En: XXVIII Reunion Nacional de la Asociacion Mexicana de Produccion Animal. Tapachula, Chiapas. p 157. Mexico.
  24. González, S. C. and H. O. Botero. 1983. Aplicacion de la ecografía de ultrasonido en el diagnostico precoz de la gestacion de la cabra. 9a. Reunion de la Asoc. Latinoam. Produc. Anim. Venezuela. 28-35.
  25. Gordon, I. R. 1997. Controlled reproduction in sheep and goats Cab. International. (2) Ireland. p. 450
  26. Huque, K. S., S. A. Chowdhury and S. S. Kibria. 1996. Study on the potentiality of duckweeds as a feed for cattle. Asian-Aust. J. Anim. Sci. 9:133-134.
  27. Johnson, W. L., N. N. Barros and E. R. de Oliveira, 1990. Supplemental feed resources and their utilization by hair sheep. In: Hair Sheep Production in Tropical and Sub-Tropical Regions with Reference to Northeast Brazil and the Countries of the Caribbean, Central America, and South America (Ed. M. Shelton and E. A. P. Figueiredo). Davis, CA, pp. 79-95.
  28. Kahindi, R. K., S. A. Abdulrazak and R. W. Muinga. 2007. Effect of supplementing Napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum) with Madras thorn (Pithecellobium dulce) on intake, digestibility and live weight gains of growing goats. Small Rumin. Res. 69:83-87.
  29. Kalita, P., P. K. Mukhopadhyay and A. K. Mukherjee. 2007. Evaluation of the nutritional quality of four unexplored aquatic weeds from northeast India for formulation of cost-effective fish feeds. Food Chem. 103:204-209.
  30. Kenji, L., N. Kobayashi, H. Kohno, A. Miyamoto and Y. Fukui. 2004. A comparative study of induction of estrus and ovulation by three different intravaginal devices in ewes during the non-breeding season. J. Reprod. Dev. 50:63-65.
  31. Khan, M. J., H. Steingass and W. Drochner. 2002. Evaluation of some aquatic plants from Bangladesh through mineral composition, in vitro gas production and in situ degradation measurements. Asian-Aust. J. Anim. Sci. 15:537-542.
  32. Kozloski, G. V., L. M. Bonnecarrere, L. Cadorin, M. V. Reffatti, and L. Lima. 2006. Intake and digestion by lambs of dwarf elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum Schum. cv. Mott) hay or hay supplemented with urea and different levels of cracked corn grain. Anim. Feed Sci. Technol. 125:111-122.
  33. Leroy, J. L. M. R., T. Vanholder, B. Mateusen, A. Christophe, G. Opsomer, A. De Kruif, G. Genicot and S. A. Van. 2005. Non-esterified fatty acids on follicular fluid of dairy cows and their effect on development capacity of bovine oocytes in vitro. Reproduction 130:485-495.
  34. Leyva, V., B. C. Buckrell and J. S. Walton. 1998. Regulation of follicular activity and ovulation in ewes by exogenous progestagen. Theriogenology 50:395-416.
  35. Liu, X., Q. Dai and N. C. Rawlings. 2007. Ultrasonographic image attributes of non-ovulatory follicles and follicles with different luteal outcomes in gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH)-treated anestrous ewes. Theriogenology 67:957-969.
  36. Lozano, J. M., P. Lonergan, M. P. Bolan and D. O'Callagan. 2003. Influence of nutrition on the effectiveness of superovulation programmes in ewes: effect on oocyte quality and post-fertilization development. Reproduction 125:543-553.
  37. Martin, G. B. and S. W. Walkden-Brown. 1995. Nutritional influences on reproduction mature male sheep and goats. J. Reprod. Fertil. 49:437-449.
  38. Martinez, R. R. D. 1999. Comparación de cinco tecnicas de campo para detectar preñez en ovejas Pelibuey. Vet. Mex. 30:193-198.
  39. Martinez, R. R. D., Q. L. A. Zarco, G. I. Rubio, L. C. Cruz and M. J. Valencia. 2001. Efectos de los implantes subcutaneos de melatonina y la suplementacion alimentaria, sobre la induccion de la actividad ovarica en ovejas Pelibuey durante la época de anestro. Vet. Mex. 32:237-247.
  40. Matsas, D. 1993. Pregnancy examination in goats. In: Society for Theriogenology, ed. Theriogenology Handbooks. Caprine I. Blacksburg: American College of Theriogenologists. p. 8.
  41. Mazzarri, G., C. Fuenmayor and Y. C. F. Chicco. 1976. Efecto de diferentes niveles alimenticios sobre el comportamiento reproductivo en ovejas tropicales. Agron. Trop. 26:205-213.
  42. Memon, M. A. and R. S. Ott. 1979. Methods of pregnancy diagnosis in sheep and goats. Cornell Vet. 70:226-231.
  43. Mendoza, A. E. A. 2008. Suplementacion de selenio y vitamina E en borregas primerizas y sus efectos en variables reproductivas en periodos de anestro estacional. Tesis de Maestria en Ciencias. Colegio de Postgraduados Campus Montecillo. Mexico.
  44. Mitchell, L. M., M. E. King, F. E. Gebbie, M. J. Ranilla and J. J. Robinson. 1998. Resumption of estrus and ovarian cyclicity during the post-partum period in autumn-lambing ewes is not influenced by age or dietary protein content. J. Anim. Sci. 67:65-72.
  45. Molina, M. P., T. E. T. Sanchez, E. O. F. Garcia, G. A. Martinez, L. Cardenas, O. J. Peralta, J. L. M. Cordero, A. E. Hizarza and C. M. E. Ortega. 2005. Manipulacion de la presencia del cuerpo lúteo en la sincronizacion del estro en ovejas Dorset. Agrociencia 39:11-18.
  46. Navarrete-Sierra, F. L., A. A. T. Cruz, P. E. I. Gonzalez, A. R. I. E. Pina, G. J. R. Sangines, L. V. Toledo and R. J. P. Ugalde. 2008. Efecto de la aplicación de la hormona de crecimiento recombinante sobre la respuesta superovulatoria y la viabilidad embrionaria en ovejas de pelo. Rev. Científica 18:175-179.
  47. NRC. 1985. Nutrient requirements of sheep. The National Academy Press. Washington, DC, USA.
  48. Olorunfemi, T. O. S., F. M. Aderibigbe, B. K. Alese and E. A. Fasakin. 2006. Utilization of duckweed (Lemna paucicostata) in least-cost feed formulation for broiler starter: A linear programming analysis. Inform. Technol. J. 5:166-171.
  49. Ortega, P. A. 1997. Maceracion fetal espontánea en una borrega: Hallazgos ultrasonicos y cambios plasmaticos en proteína específica de la prenez ovina b y progesterona. Rev. Biomed. 8:33-36.
  50. Ortega-Pacheco, A., R. Montes-Perez, J. F. Torres-Acosta, A. Aguilar-Caballero and E. Avalos-Borges. 1999. Diagnostico de gestacion en cabras criollas (Capra hircus) mediante determinacion de los niveles sanguineos de progesterona y ultrasonografía de tiempo real. Rev. Biomed. 10:229-234.
  51. Reimers, T. J. 1984. Laboratory training manual on radioimmunoassay in animal reproduction. FAO/IEAE division, Technical reports series No. 233:85-11.
  52. Restall, B. J., J. T. B. Milton, P. Klong-yutti and S. Kochapakdee. 1990. Pregnancy diagnosis in Thai native goats. Theriogenology 34:313-317.
  53. Rhind, S. M. 1992. Nutrition: it effects on reproductive performance and its hormonal control in female sheep and goats. Progress in sheep and goats research (Chapter 2). CAB international. p. 25.
  54. SAS Institute Inc. 2000. SAS/STAT user's guide: Version 8th edn. SAS Institute Inc., Cary, North Carolina, USA.
  55. Tessena, Z. and R. M. T. Baars. 2004. Chemical composition, in vitro dry matter digestibility and ruminal degradation of Napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum (L.) Schumach.) mixed with different levels of Sesbania sesban (L.) Merr. Anim. Feed Sci. Technol. 117:29-41.
  56. Uribe-Velasquez, L. F., E. Obab and M. L. Souza. 2008. Poblacion folicular y concentraciones plasmáticas de progesterona en ovejas sometidas a diferentes protocolos de sincronizacion. Arch. Med. Vet. 40:83-88.
  57. Van Soest, P. J., J. B. Robertson and B. A. Lewis. 1991. Methods for dietary fiber, neutral detergent fiber and nonstarrch polysaccharides in relation to animal nutrition. Symposium: carbohydrate methodology, metabolism and nutritional implications in dairy cattle. J. Dairy Sci. 74:3583-3597.
  58. Wathes, D. C., D. Roberts, E. Abayasekara and R. J. Aitken. 2007. Polyunsaturated fatty acids in male and female reproduction. Biol. Reprod. 77:190-201.
  59. Zhang, L., C. Q. Yu., M. Chimojo and T. Shao. 2011. Effect of different rates of ethanol additive on fermentation quality of Napiergrass (Pennisetum purpureum). Asian-Aust. J. Anim. Sci. 24:636-642.