Artificial insemination of red deer (Cervus elaphus) hinds late in the breeding season.
Red deer hinds in New Zealand typically conceive around April, however they have spontaneous ovulatory activity extending until September. There is little experience with mating late in the potential breeding season and there is some evidence that they may not be able to achieve pregnancy at this time of the year. The present study determined whether red deer hinds are capable of becoming pregnant following an induced ovulation in August. Ten adult red deer hinds were treated with intravaginal progesterone-releasing devices (CIDRs) and equine chorionic gonadotrophin during May prior to set time artificial insemination or were untreated, non inseminated controls. Ovulation and pregnancy were monitored by measurement of plasma progesterone concentration and rectal ultrasonography, respectively. This procedure was repeated in August. The progesterone data showed that the control hinds experienced spontaneous ovulations on both occasions and that, following CIDR removal, 9/10 and 10/10 treated animals ovulated in May and August respectively. Pregnancy rate at 45 days post insemination was 5/9 and 3/10 animals ovulating in May and August, respectively. Although these results showed modest success of set time artificial insemination following induced ovulation, they clearly indicated that red deer hinds are capable of conceiving successfully late in the breeding season.