Growth and reproductive traits of purebred and crossbred Romanov lambs in Eastern Anatolia
The performance of purebred Romanov (R) lambs and crossbred lambs of Romanov and Morkaraman (M) breeding were compared under a semi-intensive production system. The M breed is a fattailed breed native to Eastern Anatolia, Turkey. Analyses were conducted on data from 168 lambs produced from R and M ewes through laparoscopic artificial insemination (LAI) with the semen of pure R and F1 RxM rams. Pure R, F1 (RxM, ½ R), and ¼ R (RxM x M backcross) lambs were produced. The F1 and ¼ R lambs had heavier (P < 0.05) birth weights than R lambs while F1 and R lambs had heavier (P < 0.05) weaning weights than ¼ R lambs. The three groups of lambs differed (P < 0.05) from each other for age of puberty in males and females where with R lambs were the youngest, F1 lambs were intermediate, and ¼ R lambs were the oldest. The percentage of ewe lambs that exhibited estrus within one year of age was higher (P < 0.01) for R (100%) and F1 (67%) lambs than for ¼ R lambs (43%). In conclusion, improvement in growth and early reproductive traits can be obtained from crossbreeding the fat-tailed Morkaraman breed with the Romanov breed.