The effect of dietary crude protein, organic selenium and vitamin E on fertility and semen quality of broiler breeder males.
There are negative influences of selection for broiler growth on the reproductive ability of broiler breeder parents. This is mostly due to problems related to excessive body weight, such as an inability to achieve successful cloacal contact during natural mating. There is also an age-related decline in fertility of broiler breeders. In attempts to prolong the fertile period of the breeders, various forms of management techniques have been employed. These include tools such as feed restriction, photoperiod management, spiking, and possibly even using artificial insemination. The first objective of this thesis was to investigate the possible benefits of feeding broiler breeder males diets containing lower crude protein levels, than given to the females, as a means of possibly tempering growth rate or improving semen quality and fertility. There was a definite improvement in the ability of the spermatozoa of the males on a lower crude protein diet to survive in the female reproductive tract. Males that received higher levels of crude protein were at a disadvantage in that fewer males yielded semen in response to abdominal massage. The second objective of this thesis was to assess the possible benefits in semen quality and fertility, when supplementing the male diets with additional vitamin E or Se in the form of Sel-Plex®. No significant effect of treatment was observed on egg fertility or semen quality.
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