2 IntroductionReproduction is the process by which animals produce offspring for the purpose of continuing the species.Photo by Ron Nichols courtesy of USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
3 The process of reproduction begins with copulation, which is the mating of a male and female of the species.Sperm cells from the male are deposited in the female reproductive tract and try to unite with an egg cell.When fertilization (a sperm cell and egg cell unite) occurs, an embryo begins to develop.
4 The embryo attaches to the wall of the uterus where it is protected, receives nourishment, and develops.When the new offspring reaches the end of the gestation period, it is delivered from the female reproductive tract in a process called parturition.
5 To completely understand the process of reproduction, a basic knowledge of the reproductive tract structures and functions is required.
6 Structure and Function of the Male Reproductive System Photo by Scott Bauer courtesy of USDA Agricultural Research Service.
7 The major functions of the male reproductive system include: Production, storage, and deposition of sperm cells,Production of male sex hormones,Serve as passageway for expelling urine from the urinary bladder.
8 The male reproductive system is made up of several organs, glands, and muscles; each will be discussed.
10 Male Macrostructure and Function Testes and Related Structures:Testes – paired, ovoid shaped organs that produce sperm cells and testosterone.Testosterone – the male sex hormone that is responsible for the development of secondary male characteristics and sex behavior (libido).
11 Spermatic cord - a protective fibrous sheath consisting of smooth muscle, blood vessels, and nerves. Cremaster muscle – primary muscle supporting testes and coursing the length of the spermatic cord.Scrotum – sac outside the body cavity that protects and supports the testes.
12 The spermatic cord extends from the body through the inguinal ring to suspend the testes within the scrotum.The cremaster muscle, spermatic cord, and tunica dartos muscle raise and lower the testes to maintain a constant temperature (4 – 6 degrees below body temperature) for sperm to develop.
13 Epididymis and Related Structures: Epididymis – a coiled tube connected to each testis that is responsible for the maturation, storage, and transport of sperm cells.Deferent Duct (Vas Deferens) – part of the spermatic cord that is the passageway for sperm from the epididymis to the urethra.
15 Ampullae – an enlargement of the deferent duct that opens into the urethra and may serve as a temporary storage depot for sperm.Urethra – a passageway for both semen and urine that extends from the ampullae and bladder to the end of the penis.
16 Accessory Glands:The accessory glands are responsible for the production of secretions that contribute to the the liquid non-cellular portion of semen known as seminal plasma.Semen and ejaculate are terms given to the sperm plus the added accessory fluids.
17 Vesicular glands (seminal vesicles) – paired accessory glands that secrete seminal fluid that nourishes the sperm and provides protection and transportation medium for sperm upon ejaculation.Prostate gland – secretes thick, milky fluid that mixes with seminal fluid to provide nutrition and substance to the semen.
18 Bulbourethral glands (Cowper’s glands) – secretes fluid that cleanses and neutralizes the urine residue that can kill sperm cells in the urethra.
19 Penis and Related Structures: Penis – the organ that allows for the deposition of semen into the female reproductive tract.The penis of the stallion is vascular, which means that it depends on the engorgement of blood within certain tissues for erections to occur and it forms no sigmoid flexure when relaxed.
20 The penises of the bull, ram, and boar are fibroelastic, which means that they are primarily composed of connective tissue and depend little on blood for erections.The rear portion of the fibroelastic type penis forms an S-shaped curve or sigmoid flexure when relaxed.
21 Retractor penis muscle – muscle that contracts to retract the penis and form the sigmoid flexure and relaxes to extend the penis upon sexual excitement.Sheath – external portion of the male reproductive tract that serves to protect the penis from injury and infection.
22 Male Microstructure and Function Microscopic cellular parts within the testes produce sperm cells and testosterone.Spermatogenesis refers to the development of sperm cells (spermatozoa) through a process of cell division and maturation.
23 Seminiferous Tubules – tubular structures that coil throughout the testes and are the site of spermatogenesis.
24 Spermatozoa (sperm cells) – haploid gametes of the male that are motile and tadpole-like. Photo by Keith Weller courtesy of the USDA Agricultural Research Service.
25 Once matured, the sperm cells proceed to the epididymis where they are stored until ejaculation or absorbed by the body.Unusual climatic conditions (extremely high temperatures) or stress on the male can temporarily halt sperm cell production causing reproductive failure upon breeding.
26 Interstitial Cells (Cells of Leydig) – group of cells between the seminiferous tubules that produce testosterone.Testosterone – an androgen hormone that directs the development of secondary male characteristics and influences libido.
27 Secondary male characteristics include coarse hair, horns that are long and large at the base, a deep voice, and pronounced muscularity.Photo from IMS.
28 Structure and Function of the Female Reproductive System Photo from IMS.
29 The functions of the female reproductive system include: Produce egg cells (ova),Serve as receptacle for the penis during copulation, andHouse and nourish the fetus until parturition.
30 The female reproductive system is made up of several organs with specific functions; each will be discussed.Photo from IMS.
32 Female Macrostructure and Function Ovaries – paired structures that produce eggs (ova) and the female hormones, estrogen and progesterone.Broad ligaments – ligaments that support the female reproductive tract and arteries, veins, and nerves of the ovaries in the abdominal cavity.
33 Oviducts (Fallopian tubes) – paired tubes that transport the eggs from the ovaries to the uterus and serve as the site where sperm and ova meet and fertilization occurs.Infundibulums – two funnel-like openings of the oviducts that pick up the eggs at ovulation and direct them to the body of the oviducts.
34 Uterus – a major reproductive organ that consists of the uterine body and two uterine horns. The embryo attaches to uterine body or uterine horn, depending on the species.The uterus varies in shape between livestock species from long uterine horns of the sow to relatively short uterine horns in the mare.
35 Functions of the uterus include: Passageway for sperm during copulation,Incubation and nourishment of the embryo during pregnancy, andExpulsion of the fetus during parturition by contractions.
36 Vagina – reproductive structure that serves as the receptacle for the penis during copulation and the birth canal at parturition; it also serves as a passageway for expelling liquid wastes, as the urethra joins the bladder to the vagina prior to the opening at the vulva.
37 Cervix – a thick-walled mass of connective tissue with a small tube-like opening that joins the uterus to the vagina; it serves as a passageway for semen during copulation.It also contains glands that secrete a waxy-like substance that seals off the uterus during pregnancy and between heat periods to protect against infection, disease, or foreign matter.
38 Vulva – the external portion of the female reproductive tract that serves to protect the internal system from infection, to initially receive the penis at copulation, and to act as a passageway for urine.
39 Clitoris – a sensory erectile organ just inside the vulva.
41 Female Microstructure and Function Oogenesis is the process of producing ova (eggs) in the follicles of the ovaries.Oogonia cells develop in the ovaries of the fetus and mature into oocytes by birth.Only a small proportion of oocytes develop into ova or reach ovulation.
42 Follicle – a blister-like mass on the surface of the ovary that contains a developing ovum and produces and stores estrogen.The follicle secretes estrogen as a signal to the rest of the reproductive tract to prepare for ovulation (release of the ovum from a mature follicle).
44 Corpus hemorrhagicum – a small hemorrhage or blood-clotted area that develops at the site of a ruptured follicle and lasts 2 – 3 days.Corpus luteum – a yellow body of cells that develops in place of the corpus hemorrhagicum and produces progesterone.
45 Progesterone – the female sex hormone that functions to prepare the female reproductive system for pregnancy; it is produced by the corpus luteum and lasts about twelve days, unless the ovum is fertilized.Corpus albicans – a white body of connective tissue that is the result of the degeneration and re-absorption of luteal tissue.
46 Oogenesis is part of the estrous cycle. The number of ova produced per cycle varies with each species.A cow or mare normally produces one ovum per cycle.A ewe produces two ova per cycle.A sow produces eight to fifteen ova per cycle.
47 Structure and Function of the Reproductive System in Poultry The reproductive anatomy of poultry differ when compared to that of other animal species.
48 Male Reproductive System in Poultry The male poultry anatomy consists of two testes (each with an epididymis and vas deferens) that lead to papillae and a rudimentary copulatory organ.
50 Unlike other livestock species, the testes of poultry are located within the abdominal cavity along the backbone.The epididymis, which still functions in sperm storage, is relatively small in relation to the testes.The vas deferens extend from the epididymis to the cloaca and are located on each side of the vertebral column.
51 The vas deferens extend from the epididymis to the cloaca and are located on each side of the vertebral column.The vas deferens function in transportation of sperm and as sperm reservoirs.
52 Cloaca – the lower end of the avian digestive tract that provides a passageway for products of the urinary, digestive, and reproductive tracts.
53 Papillae – located at the end of the vas deferens and on the floor of the cloaca, the papillae emit semen into the cloaca of the female.Phallus – a rudimentary copulatory organ that becomes engorged with lymph during mating, which allows semen to be deposited onto the female’s everted cloacus; the phallus is more developed in ducks and geese.`
54 Androgen – the male sex hormone produced by the testes. Functions of androgen include:Directing sexual activity and the production of sperm,Controlling secondary sexual characteristics of the male, andInfluencing social rank or “peck order.”
55 Secondary sexual characteristics of include comb growth, crowing or gobbling, spur development, and male feathering.
56 Female Reproductive System in Poultry The functional parts of the female poultry reproductive tract includes one ovary, an oviduct, and the cloaca.
58 Mature female poultry have only one functional ovary; the right ovary and oviduct degenerate and cease functioning before the bird reaches sexual maturity.The ovary appears as a cluster of tiny, gray balls that are the oocytes.
59 At maturity, the ovary contains up to 4,000 tiny oocytes from which ovum may develop over time. An ovum develops by collecting lipid particles from the blood to form the yolk.
60 The yolk contains fat for energy and some protein and other nutrients needed by the developing embryo, as well as, a small white dot called the blastodisc that contains the genetic information supplied by the female.
61 When mature, the yolk is released by the follicle and engulfed by the infundibulum. The oviduct is about 25 inches long and consists of five parts: the infundibulum, the magnum, the isthmus, the uterus, and the vagina.
62 Infundibulum – funnel-like part of the oviduct that receives the yolk and is the site of fertilization.Magnum – second part of the oviduct that secretes the thick white or albumen.Isthmus – third part of the oviduct that adds the two shell membranes.
63 Uterus – the fourth part of the oviduct that secretes the thin white, the shell, and the shell pigment.Vagina – the last part of the oviduct that holds the egg until it is laid.
64 From the oviduct, the egg passes to the cloaca and then out of the body through the vent at the time of laying.
65 In addition to producing ova, the ovary produces the female sex hormone, estrogen, and the hormone androgen.The androgen hormone stimulates comb growth and works with other hormones in egg production.
66 In poultry, the functions of estrogen include: stimulating the growth of the oviduct,increasing the size of the cloaca during egg laying,modifying feather shape and pigmentation of the female, andincreasing the level of fat, phosphorus, and calcium in the blood.
67 The Reproductive Process in Mammals The estrous cycle is measured as the time between two consecutive estrous periods.The duration of the estrous cycle varies among species of livestock (cow, sow, and mare is days; ewe is days).
68 The estrous cycle begins with the ovulation of a follicle and ends with the ovulation of the next follicle.When it erupts, the follicle releases the egg to the oviduct and develops a corpus hemorrhagicum.The corpus hemorrhagicum last 2-3 days before it is replaced by the corpus luteum.
69 The corpus luteum secretes the hormone progesterone, which helps prepare and maintain the reproductive tract for pregnancy.If fertilization of the egg occurs, the corpus luteum remains for the duration of the pregnancy.If fertilization does not occur, the corpus luteum regresses.
70 During the regression of the corpus luteum, a new developing follicle on the ovary begins to release estrogen.In addition to preparing the reproductive tract for ovulation, estrogen induces estrus (heat) in the female.Estrus – the period of time when a female animal is receptive to the male for mating purposes.
71 Duration and Signs of Estrus SpeciesDurationSigns of EstrusCow12-24 hoursMost reliable sign of estrus is standing to be mounted.Mare4-9 daysUrinate frequently, vulva winking, nervousness.Sow24-72 hoursStanding still if pressure is applied to loin area.Ewe24-36 hoursStanding to be mounted by ram.
72 After ovulation, the egg (ovum) is received by the infundibulum and funneled to the oviduct. If a female has been bred during estrus (heat period) and a viable sperm reaches the fallopian tube to fertilize the egg, pregnancy occurs.
73 As mentioned, the corpus luteum remains throughout pregnancy to produce progesterone. Progesterone prevents an estrus period during pregnancy, helps to implant and nourish the embryo, and helps to develop the mammary system of the female.
74 Fertilization – the union of the haploid sperm and the haploid ovum to form a diploid individual; the actual beginning of pregnancy.Sperm and Egg Visual by
75 Insemination can be natural or artificial. When bred naturally, the male deposits the semen into the vagina of the female.The sperm make their way through the cervix, into the uterine body, both uterine horns, and finally into the oviducts.
76 If the sperm were deposited at the proper time in relation to ovulation, the sperm and egg should unite and fertilization occur.The fertilized ovum, or zygote, begins a process of cellular division and becomes an embryo.
77 At first, the embryo floats freely in the uterus obtaining its nourishment from fluids secreted by the uterine wall.The embryo will then attach to the wall of the uterus (20 days in cattle; varies with species) and begin taking a recognizable form, at which time it becomes a fetus.
78 The embryo is encompassed by a fluid filled membrane called the amnion, which protects the embryo from mechanical disturbances.The amnion is surrounded by the chorion, which functions as a protective coat and point of nutrient exchange.
80 The chorion attaches to the uterus. In ruminants (cow and ewe), the chorion develops cotyledons (raised button-like nodules) that attach at certain places on the uterus called caruncles.In the mare and sow the placental attachment is made over most of the surface area of the chorion.
81 The fetus receives nourishment from its mother through these attachment sites. The placenta is the term given to the membranes (chorion and uterine mucosa) that surround the embryo and attach to the uterus.
82 In some species of mammals, such as swine, several ova are produced and fertilized during a single cycle resulting in multiple births.Photo by Keith Weller courtesy of USDA Agricultural Research Service..
83 Fraternal twins are offspring that are produced during a single pregnancy from two separate ovum fertilized by two separate sperm.Maternal (identical) twins – two offspring that result from a single ovum fertilized by a single sperm.
84 Photo by Jack Dykinga courtesy of USDA Agricultural Research Service.
85 A normal pregnancy ends with the birth of the offspring. At parturition (the process of giving birth), the fetus is expelled from the uterus, passing through the cervix and vagina, out of the reproductive tract.Photo by Scott Bauer courtesy of USDA Agricultural Research Service.
86 The membranes that had formed around the fetus are also expelled and, collectively, are called afterbirth.
87 After parturition, the corpus luteum on the ovary begins to degenerate, a developing follicle on the ovary begins to release estrogen, estrus occurs, and the estrous cycle begins again.
88 The Reproductive Process in Poultry In poultry, the sperm are introduced into the oviduct from the cloaca and move up the oviduct to the infundibulum, where fertilization takes place.
89 Eggs that are already forming when mating takes place are not fertilized. This means that the first few eggs laid after mating may not be fertile.
90 Sperm cells can remain viable in the oviduct for two or three weeks, though viability decreases as time passes.The yolk is released from the hen’s ovary and falls into the infundibulum, where the female germ cell on the outer edge of the yolk is fertilized by the sperm.
91 The fertilized yolk, or embryo, moves through the reproductive tract, acquiring the normal egg components (albumen, shell membrane, thin white, and shell).
92 Fertilization and Formation of an Egg in Poultry
93 After the egg is laid, the embryo continues to develop with the proper temperature and humidity. The contents of the egg provide nourishment for the embryo during incubation and for three to four days after the chick has hatched.Photo by Joe Valbuena courtesy of USDA Photography Center.
94 Reproductive Failures in Livestock Sterility, or the inability to reproduce, may be caused by a number of reasons.Permanent or temporary sterility can be the result of specific physical defects, particular diseases, environmental factors, or nutritional aspects.
95 Factors that affect reproductive ability include the following: Anatomical factors,Diseases,Environmental factors, andOther factors, such as nutrition, toxic plants, and genetic factors.
96 Anatomical FactorsCryptorchidism – a hereditary condition where both of the testes fail to descend into the scrotum resulting in complete sterility.Unilateral cryptorchidism – a hereditary condition where one of the testes fails to descend into the scrotum resulting in reduced fertility.
97 Scrotal hernia – a condition where part of the intestine passes through the inguinal canal into the scrotum; though it may not cause sterility, a scrotal hernia may cause an animal not to breed and it can be dangerous.
98 Malformed penis – a condition resulting from injury or birth defect that causes the penis to be malformed to the extent that copulation cannot be performed.
99 Freemartin – a condition with twin calves of the opposite sex, where the female calf’s reproductive tract does not develop completely causing sterility in 90% of the cases.
100 Infantile or absence of ovaries – a condition where the ovaries fail to develop, do not function, or are absent because of a hormone imbalance.
101 Endocrine disturbances – hormonal or glandular reproductive disturbances in females resulting from one or more cysts on the ovaries.
102 DiseasesBrucellosis or “Bang’s disease” – a bacterial disease that causes the destruction of the cotyledons of the uterus and may result in abortion of the fetus in latter months of gestation.
103 Preventable by vaccination, brucellosis affects cattle, swine, sheep, goats, horses, dogs, and some wildlife (elk, bison).Infected animals must be slaughtered.
104 Vibriosis (Camylobacteriosis) – a veneral disease found in cattle that causes infertility, early embryonic death, and abortion.Vaccinations are effective at preventing vibriosis.A similar type of organism can infect sheep.
105 Trichomoniasis – a veneral disease caused by a protozoa that infects cattle and causes early embryonic death and abortion.Vaccination is not always an effective means of prevention.
106 Leptospirosis – a bacterial disease that causes a loss of body weight, hemolytic anemia, and abortion.Leptospirosis affects cattle, swine, sheep, goats, dogs, and horses and can effectively be prevented by vaccination.
107 Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis – a respiratory viral disease that causes pneumonia, fever, infertility, impaired fetal circulation, and eventually abortion.IBR can effectively be prevented with vaccinations.
108 Bovine Viral Diarrhea (BVD) – a viral disease that causes ulcerations throughout the digestive tract, fever, and diarrhea.Abortion is caused by infection of cotyledons.Vaccinations are an effective means of prevention of BVD.
109 Environmental Factors Mechanical injury – physical damaged to reproductive organs caused by injuries due conditions such as improper handling, unsafe facilities, fighting among animals, or complications during parturition or copulation.
110 Stress – severe climatic conditions (primarily extreme heat), high population density, rough handling, and other stressful environmental factors can cause reproductive distress.
111 Other Factors Affecting Reproduction Nutritional deficiencies - reproductive inability can be caused by insufficient levels of feed intake and quality of nutrients needed to meet the high demands put on the body’s metabolism due to fertility, pregnancy, lactation, and other events involved in reproduction.
112 Lack of condition or obese condition usually reduces reproductive efficiency. With a lack of condition caused by low nutrition, the body does not have the energy necessary for reproductive activities.During obesity, fatty deposits collect in and around the reproductive organs, impairing function and productivity.
113 The following vitamins and minerals are known to affect reproduction, if they are not balanced in the animal’s diet.Vitamin A – shortened periods of gestation, higher incidence of retained placentas, stillbirths, abortions, mastitis, calves born blind and uncoordinated;
115 Cobalt – poor conception rates, general reproductive failure; Iodine – retained placentas, delayed puberty, arrested fetal development, irregular or suppressed heat, abortion, stillbirths, and calves that are blind, hairless, and have enlarged thyroid glands;
116 Copper – delayed puberty, abortion, retained placentas; Iron – general reproductive failure, anemic young; andManganese – irregular or suppressed heat.
117 The following plants can cause abortion and birth defects in cattle: Ingestion of toxic plants – poisonous plants can also cause reproductive stress or abortion.The following plants can cause abortion and birth defects in cattle:SnakeweedLocoweed,Snakeweed, andPonderosa pine.Photo by Gary Stolz courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
118 The following plants can cause abortion in sheep and goats: LupinesLupines,Sweet clover,Onion grass.Photo by Mike Boylan courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
119 Genetic factors – some bloodlines are known to have a high genetic factor or weakness for sterility or low productivity.Inbreeding also may result in lowered fertility.
120 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED Reproduction or redistribution of all, or part, of this presentation withoutwritten permission is prohibited.Instructional Materials ServiceTexas A&M University2588 TAMUSCollege Station, Texas2007
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