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The reproductive performance of female Forest musk deer ( Moschus berezovskii) in captivity

The reproductive performance of female Forest musk deer ( Moschus berezovskii) in captivity,10.1016/j.theriogenology.2011.04.018,Theriogenology,Wen-Hu

The reproductive performance of female Forest musk deer ( Moschus berezovskii) in captivity  
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Reproductive performance of 750 adult female Forest musk deer (FMD, Moschus berezovskii) was monitored (from 2005 to 2009) on two Forest musk deer farms in Sichuan province, China. The mean (± SEM) lengths of the estrous cycle, pregnancy, and consecutive fawning intervals were 17.5 ± 0.8 d (n = 64), 182.9 ± 0.8 d (n =190), and 363.2 ± 2.4 d (n = 120), respectively. Copulation occurred from the end of October to early March, with the majority (84.1 ± 1.9%) during November and December (P < 0.05). The fawning rate was 68.7 ± 2.2% in yearling hinds and 73.3 ± 1.3% in adult hinds. Fawning occurred from the end of April to early September, with the majority (88. 9 ± 2.2%) during May and June (P < 0.005), including a peak in May (52.0 ± 1.0%). Yearling hinds fawned later (7.3 ± 1.8 d) than adult hinds. Rates of premature delivery and dystocia were 2.7 ± 0.4 and 2.0 ± 0.3%, respectively. There was a 1.07:1 female-to-male ratio at birth (P > 0.05), with 67.7% twins, but only two cases of triplets and one set of quadruplets among 537 fawns. Birth weight averaged 518.7 ± 10.3 g, ranging from 304 to 775 g (n = 240), with male fawns slightly heavier than females (521.1 ± 14.8 vs 516.9 ± 14.3 g). Postnatal and pre-weaning mortality rates were 25.0 ± 1.2 and 17.9 ± 3.1%, respectively. Postnatal mortality and urinary calculus were much more common in male fawns (P < 0.01). The mortality rate due to suppuration and dyspepsia were different (P < 0.001) between postnatal and pre-weaning periods. Due to higher mortality of male fawns, the adult sex ratio was significantly female-biased. In conclusion, captive FMD had similar seasonal patterns of copulation and fawning as wild FMD and other musk deer species.
Journal: Theriogenology , vol. 76, no. 5, pp. 874-881, 2011
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