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Thread: Single roe kids and liver fluke

  1. #1

    Single roe kids and liver fluke

    We have had a terrible and well documented run with liver fluke in the roe here in NW England and SW Scotland. I shot a roebuck this week that had a totally clean liver, the first since 16 beasts ago! We have had, of course a drier (albeit cold) spring/early summer this year.

    The roe have been in average or below average condition and had all single kids last year from a total of 35 does in the census from my two main permissions. One pair of twins seen in the Galloway piece but not by me.

    The keeper and I at home have only seen 4 kids so far this year but all singles. So, question for the panel is: because the does were affected by fluke in the winter/spring would they absorb one embryo? (That is rather than losing the 2nd newborn kid post natal, I assume the former is correct.)

    Secondly if so are they more likely/able to absorb one embryo of a certain sex? Our keeper had heard from some research they'll absorb the buck and give birth to a doe kid which makes sense from a species survival perspective?

    Thanks in advance
    Last edited by NickJ; 29-06-2013 at 08:44. Reason: spellos

  2. #2
    Fascinating questions Nick, I would love to know the answer to this as well.

  3. #3
    Hi Nick, it's far more likely that the fluke caused a reduction in ovulation rate so only one egg has been fertilised. Resorption usually only occurs after embryonic death and then only up to a certain stage of gestation. However, as I type this, something reminds me about rabbits "ability" to resorb foetuses. Even so the hormone control would remove all, not individuals.

    I'll look it up when I have a chance

  4. #4
    Many thanks Buchan, if only one egg was fertilised could that have a sex bias? As an addendum I saw a very welcome sight here on Saturday morning, a doe with twins, at last!

    Good to see you at the BDS NW shoot the other week.

  5. #5
    Likewise Nick, a good session. A sex bias? Well ignoring any tittering from the back row, it's unlikely. A lot is made of the timing of ovulation to mating with allegedly the further the sperm having to swim one sex was more likely than the other. But it's mostly rubbish. There was an enterprising gentleman some years ago who had a great scam, guaranteeing the sex of your child for only 100, full refund if not accurate. I think he made quite a bit before getting nicked.

  6. #6
    I thought as much but, as mentioned the keeper here (who is a trained ecologist to boot, a rare and welcome combination) said he had read a piece of research from a few years back that the surviving X would more likely be female than male.
    The only thing I was going to do - having had 2 years of no roe twins on my patch was double check my census to see I wasn't light on bucks and if so ease up on them with the cull. To date the balance looks normal and although (as with most) a slow start with the cold April and early May I have cracked on now and shot the same amount as I do most years by now going in to the rut.
    ATB. Nick

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