Tropical Animal Health and Production

, Volume 48, Issue 2, pp 387–394 | Cite as

Physiological changes in the peri-partum period and colostral IgG transfer in prolific D’man sheep: effects of parity and litter size

  • Mohamed ChniterEmail author
  • Imed Salhi
  • Hager Harrabi
  • Touhami Khorchani
  • Anne-Lyse Lainé
  • Raymond Nowak
  • Mohamed Hammadi
Regular Articles


The aim of this work was to assess maternal and neonatal changes in plasma proteins, glucose and cortisol and to quantify the colostral immunoglobulin G (IgG) transfer in the peri-partum period in D’man sheep, a prolific breed, taking into account the parity of the ewe. The concentrations of proteins and glucose were high in the ewes on day 7 and at lambing before decreasing. Likewise, cortisol plasma concentration was maximal during the 6 h following lambing and dropped at 12 h. Protein and glucose concentrations were low in lambs at 1 h of birth after which they increased. By contrast, cortisol level was the highest during the first 12 h of birth and then decreased. The colostral IgG level was high at lambing and dropped by over 87 % from 1 to 48 h post-partum. In the newborn, the plasma IgG concentration was lowest at birth and increased rapidly during the first 24 h of birth. Parity influenced maternal physiology with multiparous ewes having the lowest concentrations of proteins, glucose, IgG and cortisol, but the highest colostrum IgG level. Accordingly, lambs born from primiparous ewes had lower protein, glucose and plasma IgG concentrations than lambs born from multiparous ewes. The main outcome of this study was that lambs born from primiparous ewes are characterized by the lowest physiological indices and this may influence their survival chance.


Peri-partum Physiological changes Dam parity D’man sheep 



Mohamed Chniter is supported by a MOBIDOC Postdoctoral Fellowship under PASRI program (Projet d’Appui au Système de Recherche et de l’Innovation) funded by the EU and managed by the ANPR (Agence Nationale de Promotion de la Recherche Scientifique, Tunisia). The authors would like to thank Mr. Ahmed Belgacem and Mr. Mohamed Farhat (Experimental Station of Chenchou, IRA Gabès-Tunisia) for their assistance in the care and management of the animals.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Ethical approval

The procedures used in this study were conducted under the approval number 19 of the Animal Ethics Committee (Comité d’éthique du Val de Loire, CEEA VdL, France).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohamed Chniter
    • 1
    Email author
  • Imed Salhi
    • 1
  • Hager Harrabi
    • 1
  • Touhami Khorchani
    • 1
  • Anne-Lyse Lainé
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Raymond Nowak
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Mohamed Hammadi
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire d’Elevage & Faune SauvageInstitut des Régions AridesMédenineTunisia
  2. 2.INRA, UMR85 Physiologie de la Reproduction et des ComportementsNouzillyFrance
  3. 3.CNRS, UMR7247 Physiologie de la Reproduction et des ComportementsNouzillyFrance
  4. 4.Université François Rabelais de ToursToursFrance
  5. 5.Institut Français du Cheval et de l’EquitationNouzillyFrance

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