Seasonal changes in reproductive activity, sperm variables and sperm freezability in Blanca Andaluza bucks

  • Lourdes Gallego-Calvo Universidad de Huelva, “Campus de Excelencia Internacional Agroalimentario, ceiA3”, Dept. Ciencias Agroforestales. Ctra. Huelva-Palos de la Frontera s/n, 21819 Palos de la Frontera (Huelva)
  • M. Carolina Gatica Universidad Arturo Prat, Facultad de Recursos Naturales Renovables. Avda. Arturo Prat, 2120 Iquique
  • Julian Santiago-Moreno SGIT-INIA, Departamento de Reproducción Animal. Ctra. Coruña km 7.5, 28040 Madrid
  • José L. Guzmán Universidad de Huelva, “Campus de Excelencia Internacional Agroalimentario, ceiA3”, Dept. Ciencias Agroforestales. Ctra. Huelva-Palos de la Frontera s/n, 21819 Palos de la Frontera (Huelva)
  • Luis Zarazaga Universidad de Huelva, “Campus de Excelencia Internacional Agroalimentario, ceiA3”, Dept. Ciencias Agroforestales. Ctra. Huelva-Palos de la Frontera s/n, 21819 Palos de la Frontera (Huelva)
Keywords: endangered goat breed, testosterone, seasonality, fresh semen, cooled semen, semen cryopreservation


Interest in the preservation of endangered breeds such as the Blanca Andaluza goat, has increased and some steps should be therefore taken to ensure it. The study was designed to determine the seasonal reproductive pattern of Blanca Andaluza bucks, and whether this affects the quality of their semen and its freezability over the year. Seven bucks were used and their body weight, testicular weight, plasma testosterone concentration and fresh sperm quality determined every week. The collected sperm was cryopreserved and stored; it was then thawed and the same sperm quality variables measured every fortnight. High plasma testosterone concentrations were recorded during the summer and autumn, and low concentrations were recorded during winter and spring (p<0.001). No differences were seen between seasons in terms of the percentage of bucks ejaculating, the percentage of active bucks, or ejaculate volume. However, the sperm concentration, the total number of sperm per ejaculate, and the values for most fresh sperm variables were lower during the winter period (at least p<0.05). After freezing-thawing, the quality of winter-collected sperm was better, in some respects, than that of summer-collected sperm (at least p<0.05). These results reveal that Blanca Andaluza bucks show seasonal reproductive activity in terms of their plasma testosterone concentration, but no clear change in their sexual behaviour between seasons was observed. The values of fresh sperm variables also vary over the year, reaching their lowest during winter. However, after freezing-thawing, winter-collected sperm is of overall better quality than sperm collected during the summer.


Download data is not yet available.


Argo CM, Smith JS, Kay RNB, 1999. Seasonal changes of metabolism and appetite in Soay rams. Anim Sci 69: 191-202.

Baril G, Chemineau P, Cognie Y, Guerin Y, Leboeuf B, Orgeur P, Vallet JC, 1993. Manuel de formation pour l'insémination artificielle chez les ovins et les caprins. FAO, Rome. 193 pp.

BOE, 2009. Royal decree 2129/2008, of 26th December, about the conservation, improvement and promotion of livestock breeds National Program. Boletín Oficial de Estado, No. 23, 27/01/2009, pp. 9211-9242. [In Spanish].

BOE, 2013. Royal decree 53/2013, of 1st February, about the animal protection policy for animals used in scientific experiments. Boletín Oficial del Estado No. 34, 8/02/2013, pp. 11370-11421. [In Spanish].

Boue P, Cortee1 JM, 1992. Aptitude of male goat sperm to withstand freezing: Combined effects of season and time of sexual rest between two successive collections. In: Recent advances in goat production; Lokeshwar RR (ed.). pp: 1140-1143. Nutan Printers, New Delhi, India.

Corteel JM, 1981. Collection, processing and artificial insemination of goat semen. In: Goat production; Gall C (ed). pp: 171-191. Academic Press, London.

Corteel JM, Baril G, Leboeuf B, Marcellier N, 1978. Voies disponibles pour augmenter l'utilisation des meilleurs boucs. 4ème Journées Rech. Ovine et Caprine. INRA-ITOVIC, Paris, pp: 358-366.

Delgadillo JA, Chemineau P, 1992. Abolition of the seasonal release of luteinizing hormone and testosterone in Alpine male goats (Capra hircus) by short photoperiodic cycles. J Reprod Fertil 94: 45-55.

Delgadillo JA, Leboeuf B, Chemineau P, 1991. Decrease in the seasonality of sexual behavior and sperm production in bucks by exposure to short photoperiodic cycles. Theriogenology 36: 755-770.

Delgadillo JA, Leboeuf B, Chemineau P, 1993. Maintenance of sperm production in bucks during a third year of short photoperiodic cycles. Reprod Nutr Dev 33: 609-617.

Delgadillo JA, Canedo GA, Chemineau P, Guillaume D, Malpaux B, 1999. Evidence for an annual reproductive rhythm independent of food availability in male Creole goats in subtropical northern Mexico. Theriogenology 52: 727-737.

Delgadillo JA, Cortez ME, Duarte G, Chemineau P, Malpaux B, 2004. Evidence that the photoperiod controls the annual changes in testosterone secretion, testicular and body weight in subtropical male goats. Reprod Nutr Dev 44: 183-193.

Dorado J, Muñoz-Serrano A, Hidalgo M, 2010. The effect of cryopreservation on goat semen characteristics related to sperm freezability. Anim Reprod Sci 121: 115-123.

Gallego-Calvo L, Gatica MC, Guzmán JL, Zarazaga LA, 2014. Role of body condition score and body weight in the control of seasonal reproduction in Blanca Andaluza goats. Anim Reprod Sci 151: 157-163.

Gallego-Calvo L, Gatica MC, Santiago-Moreno J, Guzmán JL, Zarazaga LA, 2015. Exogenous melatonin does not improve the freezability of Blanca Andaluza goat semen over exposure to two months of short days. Anim Reprod Sci 156: 51-57.

Iritani A, Nishikawa Y, 1961. Studies on the egg yolk coagulating factors in goat semen: II properties of the coagulating factor and influential conditions for coagulation. Proc. Silver Jubilee Laboratory of Animal Husbandry, Kyoto University (Japan), pp: 97-104.

Karagiannidis A, Varsakeli S, Karatzas G, 2000. Characteristics and seasonal variations in the semen of Alpine, Saanen and Damascus goat bucks born and raised in Greece. Theriogenology 53: 1285-1293.

Morand-Fehr P, Sauvant D, 1988. Goat nutrition. In: Alimentation des bovins, ovins et caprins; Jarrige R (ed.). pp: 281-304. INRA, Paris.

Muduuli S, Sanford LM, Palmer WM, Howland BE, 1979. Secretory patterns and circadian and seasonal changes in luteinizing hormone, follicle stimulating hormone, prolactin and testosterone in the male Pygmy goat. J Anim Sci 49: 543-553.

Muhuyi EZ, Drobnis EZ, Nelxon EA, Lin TY, 1992. Season, breed and age influence on production and freezability of dairy goat semen. Proc. 3rd Int Conf on Goat Production and Diseases, Tucson, AZ (USA). Jan 10-15. p: 283.

Nunez JF, Corteel JM, Combamous Y, Baril G, 1982. Study of the involvement of seminal plasma constituents in the seasonal variations of goat spermatozoa motility. Proc. 3rd Int Conf on Goat Production and Diseases, Tucson, AZ (USA). Jan 10-15. p: 285.

OJEU, 2010. Directive 2010/63/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 September 2010 on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes. Official Journal of the European Union, No. 276: 22-79.

Oldham CM, Adams NR, Gherardi PB, Lindsay DR, McKintosh JB, 1978. The influence of level of food intake on sperm-producing capacity of testicular tissue in the ram. Aust J Agric Res 29: 173-179.

Pelletier J, Chemineau P, Delgadillo JA, 1988. Seasonality of sexual activity and its photoperiodic control in the adult ram and he-goat. Proc. 11th Int Congr Anim Reprod & A. I., Dublin (Ireland). June 26-30. Vol 5, pp: 211-219.

Pérez B, Mateos E, 1996. Effect of photoperiod on semen production and quality in bucks of Verata and Malagueña breeds. Small Ruminant Res 22: 163-168.

Peskovatskov AP, Vasitjev GI, Dzumagahiev M, 1974. First results of artificial insemination with frozen semen. Zhivotnovodstvo 8: 71-72. [In Russian].

Pintado B, Perez B, Mateos E., 1992. Effect of season on freezability of Verato buck spermatozoa. In: Recent advances in goat production; Lokeshwar RR (ed.). pp: 1042-l045. Nutan Printers, New Delhi, India.

Purdy PH, 2006. A review on goat sperm cryopreservation. Small Ruminant Res 63: 215-225.

Roca J, Martínez E, Vázquez JM, Coy P, 1992. Characteristics and seasonal variations in the semen of Murciano-Granadina goats in the Mediterranean area. Anim Reprod Sci 29: 255-262.

Rouger Y, 1974. Etude des interactions de l'environnement et des hormones sexuelles dans la régulation du comportement sexuel des Bovidae. Doctoral thesis, Université de Rennes, France.

Roy A, 1957. Egg yolk coagulating enzyme in the semen and Cowper's gland of the goat. Nature 179: 318-319.

SPSS, 2008. SPSS statistics base user's guide 17.0. Statistical Package for the Social Sciences, SPSS Inc., Chicago, USA. 640 pp.

Summermatter P, Flukiger A, 1982. Buck semen processing during off breeding season. Proc. 3rd Int Conf on Goat Production and Diseases, Tucson, AZ (USA). Jan 10-15. p:.284.

Thimonier J, Terqui M, Chemineau P, 1986. Conduite de la reproduction de petits ruminants dans les differentes parties du monde. Proc Inter Atomic Energy Agency, pp: 135-l47.

Todini L, Malfatti A, Terzano GM, Borghese A, Pizzillo M, Debenedetti A, 2007. Seasonality of plasma testosterone in males of four Mediterranean goat breeds and in three different climatic conditions. Theriogenology 67: 627-631.

Tuli RK, Holtz W, 1995. Effect of season on the freezability of Boer goat semen in the northern temperate zone. Theriogenology 43: 1359-1363.

Walkden-Brown SW, Restall BJ, Norton BW, Scaramuzzi RJ, Martin GB, 1994a. Effect of nutrition on seasonal patterns of LH, FSH and testosterone concentration, testicular mass, sebaceous gland volume and odour in Australian cashmere goats. J Reprod Fertil 102: 351-360.

Walkden-Brown SW, Norton BW, Restall BJ, 1994b. Seasonal variation in voluntary feed intake in Cashmere bucks fed ad libitum diets of low or high quality. Aust J Agric Res 45: 355-366.

Watson PF, 2000. The causes of reduced fertility with cryopreserved semen. Anim Reprod Sci 60-61: 481-492.

Zarazaga LA, Guzmán JL, Domínguez C, Pérez MC, Prieto R, 2009. Effects of season and feeding level on reproductive activity and semen quality in Payoya buck goats. Theriogenology 71: 1316-1325.

How to Cite
Gallego-CalvoL., GaticaM. C., Santiago-MorenoJ., GuzmánJ. L., & ZarazagaL. (2015). Seasonal changes in reproductive activity, sperm variables and sperm freezability in Blanca Andaluza bucks. Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research, 13(4), e0403.
Animal breeding, genetics and reproduction