1. One-day-old Taiwan native male chicks were fed with maize-soybean rearing diets without supplemental vitamin E to 23 weeks of age. From 23 to 52 weeks of age, the cockerels (n = 90) were assigned at random to 5 dietary treatments and fed with maize-soybean diets supplemented with 0, 20, 40, 80 and 160 mg/kg of vitamin E (dl-α-tocopherol acetate). Pullets (225) of the same age were fed with standard diets throughout. 2. They were artificially inseminated with one dose of 0.04 ml/bird intact and 5-fold diluted pooled semen at 31 to 43 weeks of age and at 49 weeks of age, respectively. 3. The criteria evaluated included: semen quality, fertility and maximum and effective duration of fertility, blood characteristics, body and testes weight. 4. Supplemental vitamin E did not affect cockerels' effective duration of fertility and percentage of fertility. However, when pullets were inseminated with diluted semen, supplementing 160 mg/kg vitamin E increased the maximum duration of fertility at 49 weeks of age. 5. Cockerels receiving 40 to 160 mg/kg supplements had higher sperm viability and motility after 39 weeks of age and those fed 80 mg/kg had higher sperm concentration at 39 weeks of age. 6. Cockerels receiving supplements of more than 40 mg/kg vitamin E had higher body weight gain. 7. Plasma cholesterol and testosterone were not affected by supplemental vitamin E. However, plasma luteinising hormone (LH) concentration was lower in cockerels fed 160 mg/kg. 8. Lack of supplemental vitamin E over 39 weeks was associated with lower semen quality but did not reduce the proportion of fertile eggs laid by inseminated hens, perhaps because the insemination dose compensated for low sperm quality. We found that the maximum duration of fertility might be improved by supplementing 160 mg/kg vitamin E at 49 weeks of age.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Animal Science and Zoology