To study the influence of melatonin on seasonal changes in wool production of crossbred sheep, a pharmacological dose of sustained release melatonin was administered over a month in early summer to both fleeceweight-selected and control rams from the Massey university Progeny Test lines. Wool growth and testis diameter were compared with those of untreated animals during the period of melatonin treatment and for a further 2 month period. Melatonin treatment did not significantly change either greasy or clean fleeceweight production. However, the testis diameter of the melatonin- treated animals was significantly greater than in untreated animals during the period of melatonin treatment and significantly smaller during the recovery period. Hence, although the melatonin treatment was sufficient to produce a change in reproductive characteristics, it was not sufficient to induce a measurable change in the pattern of wool production.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 49, , 5-10, 1989
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