Objective of the course
Small ruminant productions are of particular relevance in Mediterranean countries, covering a significant part of the demand of animal foodstuffs and playing an important role in socioeconomic development and landscape preservation. Animal production is facing increasingly challenging conditions due to climate change, socio-economic constraints and evolving consumer’s needs and regulations. Under this increasing pressure, the mastering of reproductive functions becomes critical for breeding industry sustainability. This requires a precise knowledge of reproductive physiology at different levels (flock, animal, tissue, molecules). Besides, well established reproductive technologies are now available in different livestock production systems and will allow some of the impact of upcoming constraints on small ruminant breeding to be overcome. In addition, emerging biotechnologies may pave the way for further progress over new unexpected challenges.
Accordingly, the objectives of this course are to provide professionals and researchers with the most advanced knowledge in reproductive physiology, focused on sheep and goat, and with strategies using reproductive biotechnologies for flock management.
The control of the fine-tuning of male and female reproductive functions will be described in detail, including methods, efficiency control and expected results under different application conditions. Different goals specific to small ruminants will be highlighted, such as improving reproductive management, reducing non-productive periods, increasing productive efficiency, and developing hormone-free strategies. Future applications of emerging biotechnologies and how they can impact new breeding systems will be discussed. This wide theoretical knowledge will be prolonged by hands-on practicals and demonstrations.
At the end of the course, participants will have gained:
– Advanced knowledge on small ruminant reproductive physiology.
– Up-to-date information on new reproductive biotechnologies in
   females and males.
– Applied knowledge on reproductive management in different small
   ruminant systems.
– Decision-making ability to incorporate new procedures and
   technologies in reproductive management.
– Practical experience on some new technologies currently used.
– Exchange of experiences and points of view with experts in small
   ruminant reproduction from different countries.