Flehmen, Mounting And Copulation Among Members Of A Semi-wild Cattle Herd
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Over a period of 2 1/2 years the occurrence of flehmen, mounting and copulation among members of a semi-wild cattle herd was recorded and their relationships to age, sex and stage of reproduction studied. Flehmen and mounting exhibited towards a female not in oestrus were shown more frequently by male than by female calves. Females were the preferred partners for flehmen, males for mounting. While the development of flehmen was characterized by a bimodal trend, mounting activity was pronounced only during the first year of life; it declined at the age of weaning and remained at low levels during the second and third years of life. Pregnant cows were never mounted by the adult bull of the herd. Male calves, however, mounted them regularly. During early gestation, cows elicited more flehmen than during advanced gestation. The flehmen rate was highest in the adult bull, with subadult males ranking second and juveniles third. Males manoeuvred oestrous females to the periphery of the herd. They made no consequent use of their relative dominance status and none of them copulated with more than half of all oestrous cows. Sons never copulated with their mothers. Males engaged in copulation, flehmen and mounting more with oestrous cows who conceived than with those who failed to conceive. The difference was pronounced in the adult bull; it was shown as a trend in subadults.