Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

Factors affecting semen quality and their effects on the fertilizing ability of broiler breeder spermatozoa using a fluorometric assay

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  • Three distinct studies using an ethidium bromidedigitonin fluorometric assay were conducted to determine if the fertilizing ability of individually caged broiler breeder males (BBM) could be enchanced by nutrition, breeding and semen extender viscosity. The first study evaluated the effects on the spermatozoal quality of BBM by feeding corn-soybean meal (CS) and corn-yellow pea (CYP) diets containing 16% crude protein (CP) fed on a daily restricted basis and the 7% CP fed ad libitum. The study was conducted from 30 to 43 weeks of age (WOA). Under the conditions of this study, feeding the diets containing CS and CYP did not have detrimental effects on spermatozoal cell characteristics, fertilizing ability and hatchability of fertile eggs. This study demonstrated that BBM kept in cages could be fed yellow peas as well as 77. CP diets. In the second study, BBM were divergently selected for a spermatozoal cell viability index score for three generations. Semen was collected and evaluated in each generation for semen viability, fertilizing ability and hatchability of fertile eggs. No differences (P>.05) were observed between the divergently selected lines in both generations (61 and 02) for the semen characteristics evaluated. Attempts to explain the lack of response to divergent selection were discussed. The third study attempted to decrease the conventional insemination dose of 100 x 10⁶ spermatozoal cells to 33 x 100⁴ per hen by increasing the viscosity of Beltsville Poultry Semen Extender (BPSE) by the addition of 47. (w/v) carboxymethylcellulose (CMC). The fertility at the lower insemination dose was not enchanced by increasing the viscosity. When the data was arranged according to the insemination dose and fertility was evaluated over the first seven days of the fertile egg collection period, no difference was observed (P<.05) according to the insemination dose. Therefore, the cost of maintaining the BBM could possibily be reduced by using 33 x 10⁶ sperm cells for artificially insemination under the field conditions.
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