The length of the oestrous cycle, oestrus and the time of ovulation were assessed in 20 adult, non-lactating zebu cows over 53 consecutive days of observation. Oestrus was detected at 30-minute observation periods daily. Peripheral blood samples were collected twice weekly for progesterone determination. To measure the length of the synchronised oestrous period, 10 cows with a palpable corpus luteum were injected with prostaglandin F2 alpha and continuously observed for 96 hours. Two cows at a time were exposed to a bull with a deviated penis for five minutes every three hours during this period. To measure the length of the natural oestrus, eight of the 10 cows from the previous experiment were continuously observed from day 21 after prostaglandin injection. They were kept during the daytime in a field with two teaser bulls and at night in a cattle pen where they were exposed to a teaser bull every three hours. Oestrus was considered to occur when the cow stood to be mounted. Ovulation was detected by rectal palpation every three hours in five cows starting six hours after receptivity commenced until ovulation took place. The length of the oestrous cycle was 20.1 +/- 1.9 days; 20 per cent of the animals did not show oestrus although their progesterone levels demonstrated that they were cycling. Two cows showed oestrus following prostaglandin F2 alpha injection although they were cycling as revealed by serum progesterone. Five animals showed behavioural oestrus around 118 hours after injection and following their release. Oestrus duration was 15.3 +/- 6.0 hours and ovulation occurred 28.2 +/- 5.0 hours after the start of the period of sexual receptivity.
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