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Effect of melatonin administration to lactating cashmere goats on milk production of dams and on hair follicle development in their offspring

  • C. H. Yang (a1) (a2), Z. Y. Wu (a1), Y. Li (a1) and W. Zhang (a1)

Abstract

Melatonin treatment in adult cashmere goats can increase cashmere yield and improve cashmere fibre quality by inducing cashmere growth during cashmere non-growth period, of which time cashmere goats are in the mid and late stages of lactation. However, whether melatonin treatment in adult cashmere goats affects their offspring’s growth performance remains unknown. Therefore, the objectives of the current study were to determine the effects of melatonin treatment in adult cashmere goats on cashmere and milk production performance in dams and on hair follicle development and subsequent cashmere production in their offspring. Twenty-four lactating Inner Mongolian Cashmere goat dams (50 ± 2 days in milk, mean ± SD) and their single-born female offspring (50 ± 2 days old, mean ± SD) were randomly assigned to one of two groups supplemented with melatonin implants (MEL; n = 12) or without (CON; n = 12). The melatonin implants were subcutaneously implanted behind the ear at a dose of 2 mg/kg live weight on two occasions – 30 April and 30 June 2016. The results demonstrated that melatonin treatment in adult cashmere goats increased cashmere production and improved cashmere fibre quality as indicated by greater cashmere yield, longer cashmere fibre staple length, finer cashmere fibre diameter and thicker cashmere fibre density. The milk fat content was higher in MEL compared with CON cashmere goats. The daily yields of milk production, milk protein and milk lactose were lower in MEL compared with CON cashmere goats. Serum melatonin concentrations were greater, serum prolactin concentrations were lower and milk melatonin concentrations and yields were greater in MEL compared with CON cashmere goats. With regard to offspring, there were no differences in cashmere yield, fibre staple length, fibre diameter and fibre density at yearling combing, and the primary and secondary hair follicles population and maturation between treatments. In conclusion, melatonin treatment in adult cashmere goats during cashmere non-growth period is a practical and an effective way in cashmere industry as indicated by not only increasing cashmere yield and improving cashmere fibre quality in adult cashmere goat dams but also having no impairment in hair follicle development and the subsequent cashmere production in their single-born offspring.

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Keywords

Effect of melatonin administration to lactating cashmere goats on milk production of dams and on hair follicle development in their offspring

  • C. H. Yang (a1) (a2), Z. Y. Wu (a1), Y. Li (a1) and W. Zhang (a1)

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