Ovarian function was monitored for 33 mo in captive feral mares (Equus caballus) by following serum progesterone (P) levels. A P level >2.0 ng/ml was considered indicative of ovulation. Feral mares were seasonally polyestrus with the majority of animals ovulating between May and October. During the first year after capture, none of the mares ovulated during the anestrous season. However, in subsequent years, approximately 10% of mares ovulated during the months of November, January and February. P levels during the luteal phase of the cycle ranged from 2.0 to 21.0 ng/ml which were similar to levels in domestic breeds of mares. The pattern of P concentrations during pregnancy was also similar to the pattern in domestic mares. These data confirmed the seasonality of ovulation in feral mares but indicated that this seasonality was not as rigid as previously believed. Captive feral mares were similar to domestic breeds in the percentage of mares ovulating all year and in the P levels achieved during the estrous cycle and pregnancy.
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Vol. 25 • No. 4