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Journal of Agricultural Science and Technology A 1 (2011) 1318-1321 Earlier title: Journal of Agricultural Science and Technology, ISSN 1939-1250 The Onset of Puberty in Indigenous Gilts in the
North-East of Thailand Confirmed by the First Ovulation
C. Sarnklong1,2, P. Na-Lampang2, S. Katavatin3, P. Kupittayanant2 and K. Vasupen1 1. Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Natural Resources, Rajamangala University of Technology Isan, Sakon Nakhon Campus, Sakon Nakhon 47160, Thailand 2. School of Animal Production Technology, Institution of Agricultural Technology, Suranaree University of Technology, Nakhon 3. Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen 40000, Thailand Received: August 18, 2011 / Published: December 20, 2011. Abstract: This experiment was aimed to investigate some changes of ovarian structure in order to confirm the onset of puberty in
Thai indigenous gilts. Fifty female animals collected from the North-Eastern area of Thailand were slaughtered in the different age groups as 0, 1, 2, 3, 3.5, 4, 4.5, 5, 5.5 and 6 months of age, respectively (each group = 5 pigs), for monitoring corpus luteum (CL) occurrence on ovarian surface and some changes of reproductive structure. CL was clearly found for the first time in the 4.5 months age group (P < 0.05) which was defined as the first ovulation; nevertheless, group of follicles with > 2.0 mm in diameter appeared for the first time in the 3.5 month age group (P < 0.05). For other conformations, size of uterine horns, oviducts or ovaries, including weight of ovaries or whole reproductive tracts, were significantly developed (P < 0.05) that was initially taken place in the 3.5 months age group onwards. Thus, it was summarized that the onset of puberty in Thai indigenous gilts, affirmed by CL appearance at the first time, should be happened between 4.0 and 4.5 months of age; however, the development of reproductive structure and follicles to prepare in approaching puberty should be started before 3.5 months of age. Key words: Puberty, ovulation, CL occurrence, Thai indigenous gilts.
1. Introduction
concerning the biologically reproductive background of indigenous gilts, especially the onset of puberty that In the North-Eastern area of Thailand, indigenous, is the basically necessary data for developing the so-called Ka-Done pigs classified as a smallest, black breeding management. Theoretically, the age of breed of pigs are now assumed to be at risk of puberty in gilts is ordinarily defined as the time of the extinction [1]. In fact, Thai indigenous pigs have first oestrus expression and ovulation with a several unique advantages, for example, rapidly continuation of constant oestrous cycles [3]. However, approaching the productive age and well adapting to in Thai indigenous gilts on farms, the first oestrus the tropical environment in terms of tolerating low detection cannot be accomplished easily due to the quality feed and being resistant to some diseases [1, 2] fact that the most of gilts are not familiar with back expected that in the near future these traits would be pressure which is an important step in estrus detection absolutely applied to resolve some uncontrollable process. Although age of Thai indigenous gilts at the problems of the modern pig farming industry. first oestrus has been previously reported as about 4.7 Unfortunately, there has been no adequate knowledge months [1], it was considered solely sexual behavior without the ovulation evidence. This information may Corresponding author: C. Sarnklong, M.Sc., D.V.M.,
research fields: veterinary medicine, reproductive physiology. not be sufficient to confirm the age of Thai indigenous The Onset of Puberty in Indigenous Gilts in the North-East of Thailand
Confirmed by the First Ovulation
gilts’ puberty because it is believed that the first and ovaries of slaughtered animals as follow: (1) size ovulation may occur before oestrus time found out by of the uterine horns, the oviducts and the ovaries, secondly, weight of the ovaries, and whole This is the first research to determine changes of reproductive tract, (2) the number, the diameter of the ovarian anatomy; finding the first corpus luteum on follicles and CL including corpus hemorhagicum (CH) ovarian surface defined as the first ovulation, in order as well as appearance of corpus albicans (CA) on to confirm when the onset of puberty in Thai ovarian surfaces. Birth weight and body weight close indigenous gilts accurately occurs. Moreover, size of slaughter time were measured. Animals used in the each part of the female reproductive tract, size and experiment and the procedures were authorized by the weight of ovaries, number and size of follicles as well as corpus luteum on ovarian surface were measured in different slaughter ages of Thai indigenous gilts. These scientific background data, especially the onset Statistical analyses were carried out by using SPSS of puberty, would be very useful to farmers in [4]. The analysis of variance procedure was used to properly regulating the breeding time and other analyze the data among the slaughter age groups. management parts for Thai indigenous gilts. Means of data were evaluated for statistical significance among slaughter ages by Duncan’s new 2. Materials and Methods
multiple range test. P < 0.05 was considered as The present study was carried out in the 3. Results and Discussion
North-Eastern area of Thailand. Briefly, a total of 50 female Thai indigenous piglets reared under the The average number and the average diameter of environment and the feeding program of swine farm follicles or CL together with CH from the both sides of Rajamangala University of Technology Isan, Sakon of ovary in the different slaughter ages of animals are Nakhon Campus, were randomly divided into 10 shown in Table 1. The visible follicles occurred at the groups of age (5 piglets/group) for slaughter times as first time in the 3.5 months age group onwards. For at 0 (birth day), 1, 2, 3, 3.5, 4, 4.5, 5, 5.5 and 6 months results of groups aged from 3.5 to 6.0 months, total of age, respectively, on completely randomized design. number of discovered follicles did not significantly After weaning (at around 45 days of age), each group differ (P > 0.05); however, number of follicles with a (except group with 0 or 1 months of age because of diameter greater than 2 mm, assumed as medium or still being sucking period) was housed indoors under mature follicles, had a tendency to increase natural daylight conditions with a density of significantly (P < 0.05). CL or CH appearance approximately 4.8 m2/gilt. Boar contact with the same (without CA appearance) at the first time was in the breed and oestrous detection was applied to the gilts 4.5 months age group onwards. Moreover, total twice a day. Detection of oestrus was carried out by number of CL and CH significantly increased from visual checking a clear vulva symptom (swelling) the 4.5 months age group until the end of experiment and/or expressing a standing response to the presence (P < 0.05). In the 5.0 months age group, CA and CL of a boar. Gilts with these criterions were defined as (or CH) was simultaneously discovered for the first oestrus behavior. The recorded data in the present time (100 percent of animals). It was illustrated that study were collected from each group as structural gilts with 5.0 months of age had already achieved the parameters from parts of the female reproductive tract The Onset of Puberty in Indigenous Gilts in the North-East of Thailand
Confirmed by the First Ovulation

Table 1 Body weight, number and size of follicles or corpus luteum (CL) and corpus hemorhagicum (CH) on surface of
both ovaries of female Thai indigenous pigs in the different slaughter ages.
0.5a 0.5a 0.6a 0.5a 0.5a 0.5a 0.5a 0.6a 0.5a 0.6a 0.5a 3.1ab 5.2bc 7.3cd 9.4de 11.3e 18.0f 23.0g 29.8h 38.1i 0.0a 0.0a 0.0a 0.0a 38.6b 49.4b 52.6b 54.0b 55.8b 56.6b 0.0a 0.0a 0.0a 0.0a 11.0b 16.6bc 16.8bc 18.4bc 19.4bc 20.4c Diameter of follicles with Ø > 2 mm (mm) 0.0a 0.0a 0.0a 0.0a 3.3b 3.3b 4.4b 4.4b 5.4b 4.5b 0.0a 0.0a 0.0a 0.0a 0.0a 0.0a 9.2b 10.2bc 10.4bc 11.6c 0.0a 0.0a 0.0a 0.0a 0.0a 0.0a 4.3b 4.4b 6.8c 6.8c abc Different letters indicate statistical differences in the same row (P < 0.05). Based on results, the first ovulation of gilts animals aged from 3.5 months until the end of identified as the onset of puberty would manifest experiment increased significantly (P < 0.05). At the during 4.0 to 4.5 months of age at which time gilts same time, measured from both ovaries, the average weighted during 9.4 to 11.3 kg of body weight while size (depth, width or length) and the average weight in the process to enhance the follicle development in the first four groups were not different (P > 0.05) but order to support the consequent ovulation would begin in the rest (4-6 months age groups) gradually before about 3.5 months of age. In commercial pig augmented (P < 0.05). It was criticized that the breeds, antral follicles with greater than 3 mm in development of the female reproductive structure and diameter are prevalent after about 100 days of age [5] ovaries obviously started to support the onset of under LH stimulation [6]. Their puberty usually puberty by 3.5 months of age, resembling in follicle occurs between 200 and 220 days of age that is a longer period in follicle development comparing with 4. Conclusion
In contrast, the mean age at the initial behavioral In conclusion, the preparing in regard to the female oestrus of Thai indigenous gilts (not shown in the reproductive structure before the onset of puberty was detail) was 139 days (4.6 months) recorded and distinctly started around 3.5 months of age. Afterwards, calculated from only gilts clearly expressing oestrus (n between 4 and 4.5 months of age the ovulation would = 15). It was described that the capability of male in be evident that is able to reaffirm the onset of puberty oestrus detection would be inaccurate because the first in Thai indigenous gilts. This information is a ovulation confirmed by CL (or CH) appearance was fundamental knowledge to be extremely valuable to taken place earlier (3.5 to 4.5 months of age). farmers in the breeding plan, and to scientists in the In Table 2, the average size in terms of diameter study related to female reproductive physiology of and length of a pair of uterine horns or oviducts Thai indigenous pigs in the future. For the next step, including the weight of whole female reproductive their appropriate age to the first mating that does not tract plus ovaries did not significantly differ among affect the productivity and the longevity, should be the first four groups (P > 0.05); however, in elder The Onset of Puberty in Indigenous Gilts in the North-East of Thailand
Confirmed by the First Ovulation

Table 2 Size of each part of reproductive tract, and size and weight of ovaries of female Thai indigenous pigs in the
different slaughter ages.
0.2a 0.2a 0.3a 0.3a 0.4ab 0.5bbc 0.7cd 0.8d 0.9de 1.0e 3.2a 5.4a 7.3a 7.6a 10.9ab 14.1bc 22.3cd 29.0de 40.4ef 49.6fg 0.2a 0.2a 0.2a 0.2a 0.4ab 0.4b 0.4b 0.5bc 0.5c 0.8e 2.2a 2.7a 4.1a 5.2a 8.6ab 10.3bc 10.9bc 12.1cd 14.5de 15.3e 2.8a 4.0a 6.3a 10.7a 16.0ab 27.0ab 41.4ab 69.0b 168.0c 171.1c 0.1a 0.1a 0.2a 0.2a 0.5b 0.5b 0.6b 0.8c 0.9c 1.2d 0.2a 0.3a 0.3a 0.3a 0.8b 0.8b 1.1bc 1.2cd 1.5d 1.9e 0.4a 0.5a 0.5a 0.5a 1.3b 1.2b 1.6bc 1.8cd 2.1de 2.2e 0.01a 0.02a 0.02a 0.03a 0.5ab 0.6bc 0.8cd 1.1de 1.3ef 1.7f abcdefg Different letters indicate statistical differences in the same row (P < 0.05). Acknowledgments
Redwood Press, Melksham, London, 1992, pp. 57-67. [3] H.J. Bearden, J.W. Fuquay, Applied animal reproduction, The authors wish to express their thanks to the staff 5th ed., Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, of Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Natural [4] SPSS, SPSS for Windows, SPSS Inc., Chicargo, Illinoise, Resources, Rajamangala University of Technology [5] D.M. Grieger, K.E. Brandt, M.A. Diekman, Follicular fluid concentrations of estradiol-17ß and progesterone References
and secretory patterns of LH and FSH in prepubertal gilts [1] K. Vasupen, Nutritional studies in native, Thai Kadon reared in confinement or outdoor lots, J. Anim Sci. 62 pigs, Ph.D. Thesis, Department of Nutrition, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the [6] S. Camous, A. Prunier, J. Pelletier, Plasma prolactin, LH, FSH and estrogen excretion patterns in gilts during sexual H. Serres, Manual of Pig Production in Tropical Countries, development, J. Anim. Sci. 60 (1985) 308-1317.

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