ArticlePDF Available

Evaluation of mating and the causes of noises at night in small dromedary camel herds

Authors:

Abstract

This study aims to evaluate the mating act in camel herds with a small female number and to determine the causes of noises and disturbances heard among the members at night during the breeding season. The proper sex ratio in the camel herds is one male for 50-80 females, so the small number of females could not be sufficient for the intense desire of males during the short breeding season. The later situation worsens if more than one male exists within the herd members. The dominant males spent a longer time in mating (P < 0.01) than the submissive ones. The mating time increased (P < 0.01) if the females showed their readiness for copulation. The mating performance was successful if one male existed alone. The submissive male failed in performing intromission during the dominant presence. Improper sex ratio because of the small number of females did not satisfy the male desire. Therefore, the dominant male pretended to rest beside a preferred female at night in order to rape her through sudden mounting. Forced mating occurred by either coercion or deceiving the females. After mounting, the forced females tried to get rid of the males by biting his knee or face seriously. The behavioral responses of the forced females were the same whether they held down by the male or after tying their legs as many breeders do. During coercion, the male tried to fix her underneath by pressing her forearms. The later situation would probably end with improper intromission and in turn impaired reproduction.
Emir. J. Food Agric ● Vol 30 ● Issue 8 ● 2018 709
Evaluation of mating and the causes of noises at night
in small dromedary camel herds
Mohamad Abdulmohsen1*, Salah Abdulaziz Al-Shami1, Saad Al-Sultan1 and Marzouk Al-Ekna2
1 Department of Veterinary Public Health and Animal Husbandry, College of Veterinary Medicine, King Faisal University, Saudi Arabia,
2 Department of Clinical Studies, College of Veterinary Medicine, King Faisal University, Saudi Arabia
*Corresponding author:
Prof. Mohamad Abdulmohsen Mohamad, Professor of Animal Behavior and Management, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, King Faisal University,
Saudi-Arabia. Tel: +966548927792, E-mail: mmohamed@kfu.edu.sa
Received: 12 February 2018; Accepted: 24 June 2018;
INTRODUCTION
Camels are seasonal breeder animals that need special
management practices to improve their reproductive behavior.
One of the major problems in the breeding of the dromedary
camels is the poor conception rate. The reproductive
behavior of the one-humped camels is concentrated on
the short breeding season in the winter (Al-Qarawi, 2005).
The reproductive efficiency of the livestock depends
mainly on hereditary factors, management practices and the
production conditions (Kaufmann, 2005). The impaired
camel reproductive efciency under pastoral conditions had
been recorded because of the short breeding season that did
not enable the chance for frequent and successful mating
(El – Hassanein 2003; Skidmore 2005 and Marai et al., 2009).
The short breeding season, low male desire and aggressiveness
were behind the impaired reproductive efciency and injuries
in camel herds (Padalino et al., 2015). Furthermore, the longer
calving interval and higher abortion rate were among the
causes of low fertility in the dromedary camels (Elwishy, 1987).
In Saudi Arabia and as the temperature lowers the mating
time of the dromedary camels starts and continues from
the end of October to the beginning of February. The
mating time or duration of mating ranged from 9 to 22 min
(Al-Hazmi, 2000). The mating time was shorter during the
beginning of the breeding season than that during the peak
of the season and decreased as the weather became warmer.
The overall mean of copulation time was 5 min. 37 sec. +
0.1249 (Rai et al., 1987).
The female camel in the estrus would lie down to the male
approach and camelids are the only ungulates that mate in
the lying position (Rathore, 1986; Elwishy, 1988). If the
female refused to lie down, the male would force her in
many ways (Gauthier-Pilters and Dagg, 1981).
Unlike the females of other domestic animals, ovulation
is conditioned by mating in she-camels (Elwishy, 1987).
Therefore, some breeders forced the females into mating
by restraining the forelegs. This was practiced to shorten
This study aims to evaluate the mating act in camel herds with a small female number and to determine the causes of noises and disturbances
heard among the members at night during the breeding season. The proper sex ratio in the camel herds is one male for 50-80 females, so
the small number of females could not be sufcient for the intense desire of males during the short breeding season. The later situation
worsens if more than one male exists within the herd members. The dominant males spent a longer time in mating (P < 0.01) than the
submissive ones. The mating time increased (P < 0.01) if the females showed their readiness for copulation. The mating performance
was successful if one male existed alone. The submissive male failed in performing intromission during the dominant presence. Improper
sex ratio because of the small number of females did not satisfy the male desire. Therefore, the dominant male pretended to rest beside
a preferred female at night in order to rape her through sudden mounting. Forced mating occurred by either coercion or deceiving the
females. After mounting, the forced females tried to get rid of the males by biting his knee or face seriously. The behavioral responses
of the forced females were the same whether they held down by the male or after tying their legs as many breeders do. During coercion,
the male tried to x her underneath by pressing her forearms. The later situation would probably end with improper intromission and in
turn impaired reproduction.
Keywords: Dromedary camels; Breeding season; Forced mating; Less female number
ABSTRACT
Emirates Journal of Food and Agriculture. 2018. 30(8): 709-714
doi: 10.9755/ejfa.2018.v30.i8.1751
http://www.ejfa.me/
SHORT COMMUNICATION
Abdulmohsen, et al.
710 Emir. J. Food Agric ● Vol 30 ● Issue 8 ● 2018
the calving interval and enhance the reproduction (Dioli,
1991 and Robert, 2010). In fact, mating was successful
when females accepted the male willingly (Abdel Rahim
and El-Nazier, 1993). On the other hand, after parturition
by 4 days, male camels were observed forcing females for
mating and all became pregnant (Khan and Younas, 2015).
One adult male camel to 50:80 females was considered
sufficient for the breeding purposes under nomadic
conditions (Dioli, 1991 and Schwartz and Dioli, 1992). On
the other hand, many camel herds in the Eastern region of
Saudi Arabia contained less number of females that would
not satisfy the intense desire of male. Meanwhile, Ahmed
et al. (2018) reported the male to female ratio would not
affect the reproductive efciency in camels. Although one
male camel is enough for 200 females, a smaller number of
females are usually used safely without problems (Arthur
et al., 1985).
This study aims not only to evaluate the mating act in camel
herds with a small female number but also to determine
the reasons of noises and troubles occurred among the
members at night during the breeding season.
MATERIAL AND METHODS
This study was conducted on three private camel farms in
the Eastern region of Saudi Arabia during two consecutive
breeding seasons. The herd members on each farm were
arranged equally to be 12 adults, apparently healthy camels
(2 males and 10 females/farm). The age of camels on the
three farms ranged from 6-8 years. The yard provided
a minimum of 28 m2 of oor space area/adult (Higgins,
1986). The adult males joined the female yard on the three
farms during the breeding seasons that continued from the
end of October until the beginning of February.
Observation and records
The dominant male on each farm was identied as the
only male who extruded the soft palate (gulla) during the
rutting season. In addition, the dominance matrix (who
supplanted whom in mating and feeding instances) was
used in identifying the social rank of the herd members
(Paul and Patrick, 2004). The copulation acts (either
normal or forced mating) were targeted, where continuous
observation sessions were planned to cover the 24 hours
of the day on the three farms (each session continued 3
hours a day). The observation sessions covered the whole
day i.e. the observation session started at 6:45 a.m. for 3
hours continuously, then the next observation session on
the other day started at 9:45 a.m. and so on until covering
the 24 hours of the day. The total observation hours were
72 (3 hours x 8 sessions x 3 farms). The way of forcing
females into mating had been described. The latency from
intromission until the withdrawal of penis was considered
a duration of mating (Singh and Prakash, 1964). After the
occurrence of mating, the time and duration (min) were
recorded using a stopwatch. During resting, the females
took a position similar to that of mating. The behaviors
of males and females on each farm were recorded at the
nighttime to investigate the causes of troubles (Table 1).
Since most of the mating incidents were performed by
the dominant male on the three farms, mating attempts
were enabled for the submissive males after isolating the
dominants in neighboring yards with visual communication.
The couple during either mating or attempting mating was
observed and photographed as mentioned in table 1.
Experimental design
Since the ovulation in camels is conditioned by coitus, some
camel breeders tried to reduce the calving interval by forcing
the females into mating through restraining their forelegs
(Khan and Younas, 2015). Therefore, this experiment had
been practiced on the three farms during two successive
breeding seasons to evaluate the effects of female restraining
on the mating performance. This experiment was also
intended to investigate the performance of submissive male
during the dominant presence and vice versa. Therefore,
three adult females of nearly similar age (6.5-8 years) were
restrained in a lying position for 30 min once weekly and
exposed to the male once at a time. The submissive male
on each farm attempted to mate one of the females 6 times
once weekly as follows:
1. Three times while the dominant is watching, after isolation
in the adjacent yard but with visual communication. The
number of mating attempts was 9 on the 3 farms.
2. Three times performing alone, after complete isolation of
the dominant (number of mating attempts was 9/3 farms).
Table 1: The points of evaluation during mating and the male
responses to the resting females at night
Couple Points of evaluation
Male camel -The social rank of males.
-Smelling the female genital organs (p/a).
-Extrusion of gulla (soft palate) (p/a).
-Focusing during mating (without looking around)
or distracted (looking at the other male).
-Forelegs on the ground or over the female’s
knee.
-Flexed knee joint or extended.
-Wrong and proper intromission.
She-camel -Struggling underneath (p/a).
-Grunting during mounting (p/a).
-Orientation during intromission (p/a).
-Biting the male knee joint (p/a).
Males at night
while resting of
females.
- The male squats, without rumination besides
the preferred female and grinds his teeth (p/a).
- The male ruminates at rest and sleeps
later (p/a).
(p/a): Presence or absence of a behavioral activity
Abdulmohsen, et al.
Emir. J. Food Agric ● Vol 30 ● Issue 8 ● 2018 711
The dominant male on each farm was given a chance to mate
the restrained female 3 times only during the presence of
the submissive male. The dominant had not been tried alone
because he was successful and did not pay attention to the
submissive presence. Mating time and the associated behavioral
activities were observed for both males and restrained females.
Ethical considerations
This study follows the institutional guidelines for the humane
treatment of animals and complies with the relevant legislation.
The animal care committee at the Deanship of Scientic
Research, King Faisal University had approved the female
restraint to evaluate it, providing that some camel breeders
have practiced it. The informed consent was taken from the
breeders and considered by the animal care committee.
Statistical analysis
Means (±SE) of mating time were determined for both
dominant and submissive males and the independent samples
T-test was used to test the signicance between means (SPSS
program version 24.0 (2016). Likewise, the means (±SE) of
the mating time were also determined when the females were
receptive and/or forced, and the independent samples T-test
was used to test the signicant difference.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
During the two successive breeding seasons, the submissive
males did not attempt mating except after isolation of the
dominant in another yard. The dominant male was the only
one who extruded the gulla (soft palate) on the three farms.
The females showed their readiness for mating towards
the dominant. The dominant males spent more time in
mating (P < 0.01) than the submissive ones while the mean
frequency of ejaculation did not differ signicantly between
the dominant and submissive males (Table 2). The previous
observation agrees with Perry (1985) who reported that the
submissive ram mounted and ejaculated less when viewed
by two dominant rams than when tested alone.
The short duration of copulation by the submissive males
might be attributed to the fear-stress as they were looking to
the dominants during their attempts. The submissive male
did not perform the intromission properly because of the
weak erection, and confusion (Figure 4). This could justify
the shorter duration of mating because of the fear-stress
during the act. The recorded mating times are nearly similar
to Al-Hazmi (2000), while shorter duration was reported
by Rai et al. (1987).
Forcing she-camels for mating occurred either by the male
force or through restraining of females’ forelegs. Eight
cases were excluded out of 27 because of the intromission
failure. Forcing the females by the male’s force may be
attributed to the less female numbers during the short
breeding season. This disagrees with Ahmed et al. (2018)
who reported that the male to female ratio did not affect
the reproductive performance in dromedary camel herds.
The mating time increased (P < 0.01) if the females showed
their readiness for mating (Table 3). During mating, the
forced females were struggling and trying to get rid of
the male even by biting his knee joint (Figure 2). These
ndings agree with Mohamad et al. (2014) who observed
that forcing the females decreased the mating time, and
the forced females were struggling underneath to get
rid of males. The receptive she-camels showed apparent
behavioral signs indicating their acceptance and readiness
to mate. She-camels in heat stand still to the male approach
and may even mount the reluctant male (Figure 3). The
peaceful environment created by receptive females was
suitable for the occurrence of powerful erection that
ensures successful mating (parasympathetic effect).
Conversely, the stressful environment of the forced females
resulted in the short time of mating (sympathetic effect).
The presence of one male in the herd resulted in
the occurrence of successful mating without distraction.
The presence of another male in the herd was stressful in
the beginning because of both males engaged in watching
each other away from the reproductive media. Therefore,
the presence of another male could distract the other,
especially during the breeding season until establishing the
solid social structure. The effect of another male presence
varied according to the social rank within the herd social
structure. The dominant male performed mating without
paying any attention to the submissive male. During the
submissive male presence, the dominant was stable, showed
strong erection (8/9), extended legs (8/9) and performed
successful intromission all the time. On the other hand, the
audience effect of the dominant male over the submissive
was dramatic as he showed weak erection (8/9), exed
legs (5/9) and performed improper intromission (6/9).
Table 2: Means of mating time (min) and frequency of
ejaculation for both dominant and submissive male camels
Male camels Mating time Frequency of ejaculation
Dominant (17)a13.50±0.95** 9.30±3.33
Submissive (10) 7.29±0.69 5.60±1.20
**Highly signicant difference at P<0.01
a Number of observed cases
Table 3: Means of mating time (min) in case of receptive
females and after coercion
She-camels Copulation time or duration
Receptive (20) 14.20±1.53**
Forced (27)a8.40±0.98
**Highly signicant difference at P<0.01
a Number of observed cases
Abdulmohsen, et al.
712 Emir. J. Food Agric ● Vol 30 ● Issue 8 ● 2018
The submissive male alone within the herd members had
improved the mating performance as he became stable,
showed strong erection and performed proper intromission
in 7 cases out of 9 (Table 4). The possibility of copulation
could occur in the daytime and at night as well. However,
deceiving the females occurred only at night in the camel
herds with a small female number, where the male lied
beside the preferred female, then jumped suddenly over her
in a mating trial (Figure 1). The noises heard at night was
because of the excessive grunting emitted by the deceived
Table 4: The behavioral characteristics of the dominant and submissive males during mating
Males Behavioral activities associated with the mating
Before mounting Erection Forelimbs Intromission
Distracted focused Weak strong Flexed extended proper wrong
Dominant (9)a0/9b9/9 1/9 8/9 1/9 8/9 9/9 0/9
Submissive (9) 9/9 0/9 8/9 1/9 5/9 4/9 3/9 6/9
Submissive alone (9) 0/9 9/9 0/9 9/9 2/9 7/9 7/9 2/9
Full erection usually occurs in most cases after squatting over the female and not while standing. aNumber of observed acts according to the experimental
design on the 3 farms, bNumber of item occurrence/total number of observed acts
Table 5: Timing and the behavioral responses during mating of receptive and forced females
Time of mating and the
associated behaviors
She-camels
Forced
Receptive Held down by the male Deceived*
Time of mating
In the daytime
At night
+
+
+
+
-
+
Males before mounting
Following the females
Smelling female’s genitalia
Extruding the gulla (soft palate)
Chasing the females
Biting the female’s stie
Lying down beside the females
+
+
+
-
-
-
+
+
+
+
+
-
-
-
-
-
+
+
Males during intromission
Struggling
Proper introduction
Misdirection
Feet position
-
+
-
On the ground
+
+
+
On the female’s forearm
+
+
+
On the female’s forearm
Females after intromission
Struggling
Vocalizing loudly
Biting the male’s face
Biting the male’s knee
-
-
+
-
+
+
+
+
+
+
-
+
+Means occurrence of a behavioral activity, *Deceived female occurs by the male who pretended to rest beside her, waited for her sleep then jumped over
suddenly in a mating trial
Fig 1. The behavioral responses of male camels during female resting in the daytime and at night.
Abdulmohsen, et al.
Emir. J. Food Agric ● Vol 30 ● Issue 8 ● 2018 713
females (Table 5). These observations were inconsistent
with Arthur et al. (1985) and Ahmed et al. (2018) who
reported that the sex ratio and the smaller female numbers
would not affect the reproductive efciency in camel herds.
The females that denied mating in the daytime would be
forced into mating or deceived at night. Temporary alliance
usually occurs between the compatible breeding pairs then
gentle biting or kissing occurs without evil consequences.
During mating, the forced or deceived females moved
frequently, grunted loudly and tried to get rid of the males
by biting his knee or face (Figure 2&4). Thereby, improper
intromission was recorded because of the females’ lack of
orientation and struggling while males were trying to x
them by pressing the females’ forearms (Figure 4). The
dominant male was focusing during mating the receptive
female, with extended knee joint, and his feet were on the
ground (Figure 5). The female was steady and enabled the
proper intromission. The previous observations agree with
Mohamad (1995).
CONCLUSION
In the small dromedary camel herds, the main cause of
the noises heard at night is the sexual harassment of the
deceived or forced females because of the unsatised
male desire. Individual isolation of the male camels is
necessary in case of small camel herds with a few female
numbers. This would also help if the females were neither
in heat nor pregnant. The receptive females should be
taken individually to the male yard to enable peaceful
mating. If the forced or deceived females were pregnant,
the straining could lead to abortion. On the other hand,
biting the knee joint could result in arthritis with its evil
consequences.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
The authors are thankful and would like to express their
gratitude to the Deanship of Scientic Research, at KFU
for the nancial support given to the research project
No: 140122.
AUTHORS’ CONTRIBUTION
Mohamad Abdulmohsen formed the idea, participated
in animal observation, designed the experiment and
shared in writing the manuscript. Salah Abdulaziz
Al-Shamiparticipated in the observation, performed
the statistical analysis and shared in writing. Saad Al-
Sultanparticipated in the observation, collected the data,
and shared in writing. Marzouk Al-Ekna wrote the results
andrevised the manuscript.
Fig 4. The male is trying to x the forced female underneath.
Fig 2. Forced females are biting the males' knee joints.
Fig 3. The receptive female stands still to the male (on the left) and
covers the reluctant male expressing her desire for mating (on the right).
Fig 5. Focused male during mating of the receptive female (note
the extended forelegs on the ground).
Abdulmohsen, et al.
714 Emir. J. Food Agric ● Vol 30 ● Issue 8 ● 2018
REFERENCES
Abdel Rahim, S. E. A. and A. E. El-Nazier. 1993. Factors affecting
camel reproductive performance in the tropics. Etudes Synth.
IEMVT. 41: 131-147.
Ahmed, A., D. Derar, A. Abdulhadi, A. Assaf, K. Rashid, A. Tariq,
A. Yaser and A. Fahd. 2018. Factors affecting reproductive
performance in dromedary camel herds in Saudi Arabia. Trop.
Anim. Health Prod. DOI: org/10.1007/s11250-018-1545-3.
Al-Hazmi, M. A. 2000. Mating behavioral aspects of one humped
camel (Camelus dromedaries) in Jeddah province, Saudi Arabia.
Saudi J. Biol. Sci. 7(2): 113-123.
Al-Qarawi, A. A. 2005. Infertility in the dromedary bull: A review of
causes, relations and implications. Anim. Reprod. Sci. 87: 73-92.
Arthur, G. H., A. T. A. Rahim and A. T. Al Hindi. 1985. Reproduction
and genital diseases of the camel. Br. Vet. J. 141: 650-659.
Dioli, M. 1991. Reproduction of camels in a traditional pastoral
system in East Africa. In: Camel Newsletter No. (8). GTZ. Camel
Extension Project. P.O. Box 47051 Nairobi, Kenya.
El-Hassanein, E. 2003. An Invention for Easy Semen Collection
from Dromedary Camels. Available from: https://www.pdfs.
semanticscholar.org/160a/57a/9af7a23a652c0da015a1226859
738d148.pdf.
Elwishy, A. B. 1987. Reproduction in the female dromedary (Camelus
dromedarius): a review. Anim. Reprod. Sci. 15: 273-297.
Elwishy, A. B. (1988). Reproduction in the male dromedary (Camelus
dromedarius): A review. Anim. Reprod. Sci. 17: 217-241.
Kaufmann, A. B. 2005. Reproductive performance of camels (Camelus
dromedarius) under pastoral management and its inuence on
herd development. Livestock Prod. Sci. 92: 17-29.
Gauthier-Pilters, H. and A. I. Dagg. 1981. The Camel: Its Evolution,
Ecology, Behavior and Relationship to Man. 1st ed. Chicago
University Press, Chicago and London.
Khan, N. and M. Younas. 2015. Reducing the calving interval in
camel: Forced mating, a case study at camel breeding and
research station, Rakh Mahni Punjab, Pakistan. Available from:
https://www.academia.edu/918473/.
Marai, I. F. M., A. E. B. Zeidan, A. M. Abdel-Samee, A. Abizaid
and A. Fadiel. 2009. Camel’s reproductive and physiological
performance traits as affected by environmental conditions.
Trop. Subtrop. Agroecosyst. 10: 129-149.
Mohamad, M. A. 1995. Studies on Some Stress Factors Affecting the
Behavior of Camels. PhD Thesis, Suez Canal University, Egypt.
Mohamad, M. A., S. A. Al-Shami, A. Marzouk, Al-Ekna and S. A.
Al-Sultan. 2014. On Farm Evaluation of the Copulation act
in Camels (Camelus dromedaries): Proceedings of the 48th
Congress of the International Society for Applied Ethology.
Vitoria Gasteiz, Wageningen Academic, Spain, p. 154.
Padalino, B., D. Monaco and G. M. Lacalandra. 2015. Male camel behavior
and breeding management strategies: How to handle a camel bull
during the breeding season? Emir. J. Food Agric. 27(4): 338-349.
Paul, M. and B. Patrick. 2004. Measuring Behavior: An introductory
Guide. 2nd ed. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England.
Perry, G. C. 1985. Mating behavior. In: World Animal Science, A5.
Ethology of Farm Animals. A Comprehensive Study of the
Behavioral Features of the Common Farm Animals. Elsevier,
Amsterdam-Oxford New York. pp. 325-332.
Rai, A. K., S. N. Tandon and N. D. Khanna. 1987. Copulation time of
Bikaneri male camels. Indian J. Anim. Sci. 58(10): 1202-1203.
Rathore, G. S. 1986. Camels and their Management. 1st ed. Indian
Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi.
Robert, I. 2010. Camel. Reaktion Books LTD., Illustrations.
Schwartz, H. J. and M. Dioli. 1992. The One-humped Camel in
Eastern Africa. A Pictorial Guide to Diseases, Health Care and
Management. Welker Sheim, F. R., Germany.
Singh, V. and A. Prakash. 1964. Sexual behaviour in camel. Indian
Vet. J. 41: 475-477.
Skidmore, J. A. 2005. Reproduction in dromedary camels: An update.
Anim. Reprod. 2(3): 161-171.
... The average time required for mating (standing over the female stage) was in agreement with the mating times recorded by Padalino et al. (2015) and Abdulmohsen et al. (2018). It should be noted that excess workloads in a dromedary bull may also result in a lack of libido or in ejaculation failures (Al-Qarawi et al., 2001). ...
Article
Full-text available
A survey was carried out for evaluating camel herd's fertility and fecundity under Algerian extreme arid conditions. Progeny History Testing data obtained from 14 camel herds (78 females and 20 males) were analyzed and compared with standard objectives and thresholds. The age at first rut, the first oestrus, first male and female mating (months ± SD) were 37.2 ± 16.29, 31.07 ± 8.97, 42.6 ± 14.28 and 35.52 ± 8.55, respectively. The birth conception interval, open days, age at first calving and calving interval were 40.35 ± 9.41 months, 340 ± 203 days, 51.05 ± 9.59 months and 22.32 ± 5.63 months. The mean male to female ratio was 1:40. Pregnancy diagnosis was performed 21.81 ± 16.4 (days) post-mating and the duration of pregnancy was on average 12.80 ± 0.30 months. The mean herd's annual fertility was 56.2 ± 6.6%; the mean culling age of males per herd was 15.30 ± 2.47 years whereas females were culled at 23.31 ± 5.64 years with a mean number of 5.23 ± 2.91 lactations. The observed reproductive traits were acceptable when compared to the fixed objectives for pastoral livestock. However, all the considered herds showed annual fertility out of threshold. The lack of significant strategy to improve age at first calving, calving interval and reasoned use of dromedary bulls, is likely to affect fertility and productivity of Algerian camel herds. Such negative trend could hamper the genetic improvement of autochthonous camel eco-types and compromise the camel sector and the ecosystemic services provided by local cameleers. Ó 2020 Production and hosting by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of King Saud University. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
Article
Full-text available
A survey of 7122 dromedary camels in 115 herds in Saudi Arabia was used to estimate the effects of herd size (HZ; <25 vs. 25-49 vs. 50-100 vs. >100 camels), herder/camels ratio (H/C; 1:<25 vs. 1:25-50 vs. 1:>50), manager experience (ME; <5 vs. 5-10 vs. >10 years), male/females ratio (M/F), housing system (HS; free vs. closed vs. mixed), length of the breeding season (winter vs. winter and spring vs. fall, winter and spring), age at first mating (3 vs. >3 years) and time of mating after parturition (≤3 vs. >3 months) and their interactions on the overall pregnancy rate. Barren females of these herds (n=886) were examined for the causes of infertility. Results showed that herds with H/C of 1:<25 had higher overall pregnancy rate (95.29%) than herds with H/C of 1:25-50 (79.84%) and those with H/C of 1:>50 (72.79%) (p=0.003). Herds having ME of >10 years revealed greater overall pregnancy rate (94.89%) than herds with ME of 5-10 years (80.54%) and those with ME of <5 years (72.5%) (p=0.001). There were significant interactions between H/C x HZ (p=0.003), H/C x HS (p=0.006) and ME x HS (p=0.02). The overall pregnancy rate did not significantly differ between herds bred females by age of three years and those bred females by age >3 years and in females bred within three months after parturition and in those bred after three months. The mean calving interval was shorter (p=0.008) in camels mated within three months of parturition (15.25±2.8 months) than in those mated after that time (24.33±6.5 months). Clinical endometritis, ovarian hydrobursitis and vaginal adhesions were the common clinical findings in barren females. Thus, efforts to reduce the age at first mating and the interval after calving, increase the number of herders/camels, and control reproductive disorders could improve the reproductive performance and quality of camel herds in Saudi Arabia.
Article
Full-text available
A camel dummy of similar features and size to a female camel in sternal recumbancy has been devised and tested in the artificial insemination center of Maryout Research Station of Desert Research Center. Using this dummy for semen collection improved the collection process and the quantity and quality of semen collected. The principles and design of the dummy in addition to its advantages are fully discussed. This invention is expected to be a revolutionary helpful tool for many specialists interested in camel reproduction and artificial insemination.
Article
Full-text available
The present article reviews male camel behavior and breeding management strategies, providing an insight into the handling procedures and the most relevant welfare issues on these topics. Furthermore, it suggests some procedures for rearing, handling and collecting semen from camel bulls, based on results that have been achieved in the last twenty years and, recently, literature published with the aim of optimizing dromedary camel breeding. Camels are seasonal breeders and their breeding season (BS) is confined to the coolest winter months of the year; during the BS, also called "rutting period" or "rut", males exhibit morphological, behavioral and endocrinological peculiarities. Short breeding season, low libido and high aggressiveness are still some of the major cause of economic loss, poor reproductive performance and injuries, for camel breeding and industry. The application of ethology to approach, to train and to study camel bulls may be useful in the future to improve camel welfare and productive performances. Strong knowledge of animal learning and correct management procedure could be useful for camel technicians, owners, breeders, but also for veterinarians and others scientists.
Article
The male camel is described as a seasonal breeder with a marked peak in sexual activity (the rut) during the breeding season and it is generally thought that the male is sexually quiescent for the remainder of the year, but it is capable of mating and fertilizing an estrous female at any time of the year. Similarly, the she-camel, although it shows strong tendency to be regarded as a seasonal breeder, pregnancy can occur at any season of the year as a polyestrus animal. However, in all cases, sexual activity of the females coincides with that of the males and both respond to the same environmental conditions. Globally, the breeding season of the camels begins at different dates beginning of September and ends at different dates until June in the different parts of the Northern World and from June to September in the Southern parts of the World, which are the mildest periods of the year, but with decreasing and / or increasing daylight, while the non-breeding season is in summer hot months. The severe hot conditions (which are strongly related to the length increase of the photoperiod) under which the camel lives directly without any shelter in summer disturb the physiological functions that affect deleteriously the sexual activity and all the related traits of the camels' polyoestrous nature. However, although photoperiodic variations have a strong influence, yet there is some evidence suggesting that the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) may be sensitive to changes in ambient temperature, with some cells being more responsive to cold and others more responsive to heat. Furthermore, the molecular mechanisms that regulate rhythmicity, such as the cyclic changes in the expression of clock proteins, can be altered by temperature changes. Further studies on the importance of SCN in reproductive functions of the camel, are needed.
Article
This review summarizes recent developments in camel reproduction, and it describes characteristics of the ovarian follicular wave cycle and exogenous hormonal control of ovulation and luteolysis. In addition, an account is given of the developments in assisted reproductive technologies in camels such as methods for collection, transfer, and deep-freezing of embryos and semen. Details of recent advances in in vitro maturation and fertilization of camel oocytes are also discussed.
Article
Camels (Camelus dromedarius) produce milk and offspring and provide transport in pastoral husbandry systems in the Afro-Asian dryland belt. The aim of the present study was to investigate the reproductive performance of camels kept under pastoral management in northern Kenya. Using the Progeny History surveying technique, data were collected from 471, 287 and 416 adult Rendille, Gabra and Somali female camels including data on 1506, 789 and 1206 parturitions, respectively. Surveys took place from January to December 1995, but data refer to the 15-year production period preceding the survey. Age at first calving (AFC) was 58.4±1.0 months (LSMeans±S.E.), 63.0±1.1 months and 68.4±1.3 months for the Somali, Rendille and Gabra camels, respectively.The mean calving interval was similar for all three populations with 27.3±0.6 months (LSMeans±S.E.) for Rendille camels, 28.0±0.6 months for Gabra (n=500) and 28.4±0.6 months for Somali camels. The annual calving rate varied between 33% and 46% in the Somali, 19% and 44% in the Gabra and 8% and 86% in the Rendille camel population. Calf mortality rate averaged 25%, 22% and 27% in Rendille, Gabra and Somali camel calves, respectively, and showed highest variation between the years in the Rendille system (5% to 60%).The number of adult breeding females increased by about 20% over a simulation period of 10 years using the status quo reproductive parameters and by about 70% with improved AFC and CI (excluding AFC>78 months and CI>36 months). The results reveal the usual and unusual variation in the reproductive parameters over different years and in the different systems. It is concluded that eliminating unusual variation is a promising way to enhance herd development and reduce risk in the production systems.
Article
The breeding season in the camel appears to be longer than was previously thought. The camel is an induced ovulator, and the estrous cycles are either ovulatory or non-ovulatory (follicular). The length of the estrous period depends on whether and when mating occurs. However, in both conditions, maximum estrogen concentration in the blood lasts for 2.9 ± 1.83 days. The concentration of LH in the peripheral blood plasma reaches its peak 2-4 h after mating or insemination, while ovulation occurs after 36-48 h. The developing CL can be detected by rectal palpation 10 days after service. Regression of the CL is rapid after sterile mating. Hence a CL similar to that of diestrus in other farm animals is not found in the camel. The ovulatory activity of the left ovaries (50.2-56.5%) is slightly higher than that of the right (43.5-49.8%), but left horn pregnancy is usual (98.2-100%). Multiple ovulations occur in 12.4-18.6% of camels but twin births are very rarely, if ever, observed. Pregnancy is characterized by the presence of a large and well developed CL which is maintained throughout pregnancy. Milk or blood progesterone can be a valuable tool for assessing early pregnancy in camels. Palpable swelling of the left horn is recognised 6-8 weeks after mating. Uterine involution is completed 40 ± 2.1 days after parturition. Suckling, lactation and nutrition are known to influence the interval to post-partum estrus. Low reproductive performance in camels is mainly ascribed to old age at first calving, long calving interval and limited breeding season. High abortion rate in some studies and the quite high calf mortality rate also contribute to low reproductive efficiency with long-term effects on herd dynamics.