Diet prior to pregnancy...may determine gender

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Genie

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We are reading an article on pregnancy in sheep and a way to influence the gender by the maternal diet....

Research published in the Bio Med Central's open access journal Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology has demonstrated that ewes fed a diet enriched with polyunsaturated fats for one month prior to conception had a significantly higher chance of giving birth to male offspring.

Further they said the study ruled out body condition, weight of ewe, previous births and time of breeding.

They said it was the composition of the diet being consumed around the time of conception that was responsible for the sex/ratio effect.

I thought it might be interesting to monitor 3 or 4 of our brood mare's diet for a one month time frame prior to breeding and cut out any feed supplements other than salt or minerals to compare their foaling results to the mares on regular rations.

The end of the article states that these findings will be important to the livestock industry.

"Increasing or decreasing the amount of fat in feed during a breeding period could be a way of controlling the sex ratio of offspring born to a herd or a flock."
 

muffntuf

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The only article I found close to this was one published this summer in Horse. They did a study on eating habits and inception sex. They found that mares thrown into an almost starvation mode produced more fillies, but if they had a steady, well balanced diet - they had more colts. This was on a small herd though.
 
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StarRidgeAcres

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I find this subject very interesting although I know very little about it. I haven't had the opportunity to ask for details, but I know of two breeders, one very well-known by name, the other not so much. The well-known one asked me what sex foal I wanted out of a breeding. Huh? I said a colt and she said "oh, that's easy. Most of my clients want fillies." Ok. Weird. Then I met someone recently who always makes the statement "we breed for fillies." Really? Just how do you do that?

So, I'm curious to hear what other people have experienced or heard. It sure seems that since everyone seems to want fillies but ent up with colts that there mustn't be a very reliable way of controlling it.
 

HGFarm

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LOL, I breed for fillies too.... doesn't mean I get any.

I have heard everything from the temperature and climate, giving them vinegar, when you breed during the cycle, the acidity of the uterus, etc... etc.. etc... Now either throw them on a starvation diet or reduce the fat..........

Articles that state things like 'could', 'may', 'possibly' and 'might' are not going to encourage me to try the dozens of ideas and theories that folks have come up with. It reminds me of all the latest fad diets or current craze..... I guess I am just too old and tired to follow all that stuff.

Perhaps if I face them all to the south and only breed at 6 a.m. or 6 p.m. and see what I get.... ?? LOL

The articles are always interesting, but I think if someone really really was on to something, more folks would already be producing more females. Also, can we really compare a sheep's metabolism and the way they process food/minerals, etc... to a horse? Sheep are sensitive to things that other mammals are not, so I would not think it's fair to compare in what does and does not affect their bodies? They have a much higher fat content too than other mammals...
 

Genie

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Because at the end of the article they made the following comment ;

""Increasing or decreasing the amount of fat in feed during a breeding period could be a way of controlling the sex ratio of offspring born to a herd or a flock."

Made me think that they felt it pertained to livestock in general.

I just thought it was something that we might experiment a bit with at our farm and keep track of results.

I will feed hay, mineral and salt for a period of time prior to breeding season to certain mares and then compare them to the other mares who will not have an altered feeding program.
 

Riverdance

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If well feed mares produce more colts then fillies, then I am really feeding my mares too well!!! For the last 4 years I have had mostly colts. Maybe I should starve them a bit.
 

ohmt

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well....I've had all fillies the last 2 years (6 fillies both times and then 2 outside mares this year had fillies as well) and my mare are definitely not starving. They all need a diet actually. I feed hay, oats, and a also a broodmare feed that I buy at the store that's pretty high in fat.

I always thought it was just up to the stallion--some stallions produce almost all fillies or all colts because the x or y sperm is more viable than the other. If you get a mare that has almost all fillies (I had a broodmare that I sold at age 15 that had give me 8 fillies and 1 colt while I owned her) then it was just chance that it happened that way.
 

Ashley

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They found that mares thrown into an almost starvation mode produced more fillies, but if they had a steady, well balanced diet - they had more colts. This was on a small herd though.
That explains why I get so many boys. THe one mare that did have a filly did come from a almost starved state. Well she had a round bale, but the hay wasnt even fit for cattle to be eatting let alone a horse, I bred her the same day she came home, maybe thats why I got a filly?
 

White Socks Miniature

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Well seeing as the male sperm determines the gender based on the chromasomes it carries, The results of these tests are based purely on coincidence!

A mares eggs are all XX (female) So no matter what you feed or do to her it isnt going to change!

It is the males sperm that may or may not have the male chromasome! A males sperm can either be XX female or XY male.

When a females XX egg and a males XX sperm meet you get XX which is a filly who will only produce XX eggs during her life.

When a females XX egg and a males XY sperm meet you get XY which is a colt who will produce both XX and XY sperm.

So really there should be more actual scientific studies done on males and how to get those XX sperm more frequently if you want fillies!!!

Theres my scientific two cents.
 

Nathan Luszcz

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There is no way to influence a stallion into producing more XX sperm... for every XX sperm there is an XY sperm too
As far as I know there are millions of theories as to how to produce more fillies (colts are pretty universally undesirable... I seem to be the only one who wants them!) but there are no proven ways. All are wive's tales
 

Songcatcher

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If a well fed mare is more likely to produce a colt than a filly, I guess I'll just get used to getting colts. I will NOT starve a mare (or any other horse) for ANY reason. I know it was not your intention to insinuate such, but some people may take it that way.
 

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