The Expression of Birth Weight is Modulated by the Breeding Season in a Goat Model
Birth weight (BW) is frequently considered as an indicator to detect possible restrictions of intrauterine development. This study evaluated the effect of breeding season (BS) across year: spring (SP), summer (SM), fall (FL) and winter (WT) upon the expression of BW. This meta-analysis considered records (n = 1,084) collected from a commercial herd kept under intensive conditions (22° NL, 1,835 m). The definitive statistical model for BW analysis considered the independent variables kidding year, (KY), genetic group (GT), litter size (LS), gender (GN), breeding season (BS), kidding season (KS) plus the interactions (KY*GT) and (GN*BS). BW expression was affected (P<0.05) by KY, GN, LS, KS, and KY*GT. Interestingly, while BW expression was not affected (P>0.05) by kidding season, it was affected (P<0.05) by breeding season. The highest and lowest BW values were observed in SP and WN (3.34 vs. 3.10 kg; P<0.05), respectively. This physiological scenario could be the result of embryonic-fetal adaptive responses representing homeostatic adaptations due to alterations including doe nutritional status, available quantity and quality of food to both the embryo and the fetus as well as to a changing external environment.