Synthesis of Measuring Steroid Metabolites in Goose Feces



Abstract: The reliability of noninvasively measuring steroid hormones from feces in greylag geese (Anser anser) and domestic geese (A. domesticus), both qualitatively and quantitatively, was tested experimentally. Geese are mainly herbivorous birds with a short gu-passage time (2–3 h). Groups of eight outdoor-housed male domestic geese were subjected to two different experiments, injection of either GnRH or ACTH, which were replicated in three different seasons (spring, summer, and fall). GnRH stimulation resulted in significant increases of response fecal testosterone metabolites (TM; 17β-OH-androgens) in spring and fall, but not during the summer photorefractoriness. Testosterone response patterns obtained from plasma samples paralleled those from feces; however, no direct correlation between individual immunoreactive plasma and feces contents was observed. To improve the sample handling during extraction and the assay sensitivity, we promote the use of a group-specific antibody against 17-oxoandrogens that does not require deconjugation prior to the analysis. ACTH robustly increased fecal corticosterone in all seasons. The polar nature of glucocorticoids, however, seems to make a distinction between conjugated and nonconjugated types difficult, and the available avian literature on this topic is discussed.