Scrotal circumference in Karagouniko and Chios sheep in relation to the aerial environment
Local breeds are a valuable asset in sheep farming systems in Greece and other Mediterranean countries. Among these, Karagouniko and Chios sheep hold a special position, participating in numerous genetic improvement programs, but a research gap exists on their scrotal circumference (SC) in relation to the environmental parameters photoperiod (PHOTO), air temperature, sunshine and rainfall. Therefore, four seasons were examined: April-June and July-September (Long days, increasing and decreasing photoperiod length, respectively), and October-December and January-March (Short days, decreasing and increasing photoperiod length, respectively). Repeated measures analysis of variance and linear correlation analysis were used to investigate the effect of the period on SC and the relationships of SC and each of the environmental parameters above, respectively, in both breeds. Also, independent t-tests were used to investigate SC differences between Karagouniko and Chios. A progressive increase of SC in both breeds coincided with the lowering of PHOTO from April-June to October-December. A significant correlation was confirmed between the SC of each breed and PHOTO, shedding light on the importance of this parameter on SC. Chios sheep had significantly larger (P < 0.05) SC (35.23 cm) than the Karagouniko one (34.59 cm). Better exploitation of these sheep breeds could be derived from the current study's findings.
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