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Nutrition and postpartum rebreeding in cattle.

Journal of animal science

Pregnancy, metabolism, Postpartum Period, physiology, Pituitary Gland, Ovary, Fertilization, Fertility, Female, Energy Metabolism, Eating, Cattle, Body Weight, Animals, Animal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena

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      Body weight and condition score, although perhaps imprecise or subjective, are functional indicators of energy status and rebreeding performance after calving. Inadequate precalving and(or) postcalving energy or protein nutrition lowers pregnancy rates as well as first-service conception rates and extends postpartum intervals in suckled postpartum beef females. Normal nutritional regimens for dairy cows that are fed for maximal lactation do not exhibit long postpartum intervals or reduced fertility. Yet excessive protein intake may depress postpartum rebreeding performance, especially in older dairy cows. Feeding of ionophores, with increased ruminal propionate levels in the rumen, results in an earlier return to estrus postpartum. Underfeeding of the postpartum cow extends the period of ovarian inactivity. The underfed postpartum cow's lack of ovarian activity appears to be due to a suppression of the pulsatile release of LH from the anterior pituitary gland, which in turn is controlled by release of GnRH from the hypothalamus. Some metabolic compound(s) presumably act on the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis as the nutritional state of the animal is altered.

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