Published online by Cambridge University Press: 27 March 2009
Border Leicester ewes were kept in three contrasting photoperiodic environments, the rhythm at latitude 30° 32′ S (group 1) - 12 h light: 12 h dark interrupted by 6 weeks of continuous light (group 2a) and 12 h light: 12 h dark (group 2b) - from August 1972 to September 1973. In group 1 all ewes exhibited oestrus compared with 87·5% and 57·1% in groups 2(a) and 2(b) respectively. The mean number of oestrous periods per ewe ranged from 4·4 in group 1 to 3·0 in group 2(a) and 1·0 in group 2(b). It is concluded that the non-fluctuating light rhythm had an adverse effect on the reproductive potential of the treated groups and that Border Leicester ewes are dependent on a fluctuating light rhythm for normal reproductive function.