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Can testosterone and corticosterone predict the rate of display of male sexual behaviour, development of secondary sexual characters and fertility potential in primary broiler breeders?

Brougher, S.M., Estevez, I., Ottinger, M.A.
British poultry science 2005 v.46 no.5 pp. 621-625
broiler breeders, testosterone, corticosterone, cockerels, sexual behavior, sexual maturity, male fertility, animal breeding, selection criteria, animal growth, testes, wattles, chicken breeds, prediction
1. Genetic selection for growth to enhance production may be associated with stress and with modified physiological and behavioural phenotypes which depress male primary broiler breeder fertility. 2. We hypothesised that male serum testosterone (T) and corticosterone (C) concentrations might correlate with fertility, sexual behaviour, and testicular, comb and wattle size. 3. Cockerels from two genetic strains (A and B) of primary broiler breeder were penned individually with an average of 10 females across 5 age periods (30 to 51 weeks) to evaluate male fertility, behaviour, serum T and C, and comb, wattle and testicular dimensions. 4. Strain A males had higher T at age periods 2, 4 and 5 than Strain B. Both strains had basal concentrations of C, apart from an elevated concentration for Strain B in period 5. 5. Strain B had a weak but significant, positive correlation between sexual behaviour and T and C, while Strain A males with higher C had larger combs and wattles. 6. Neither T nor C correlated with fertility. We conclude that evaluation of these endocrine factors (quantifiable measurements with the potential to correlate with fertility) alone seems insufficient to predict male fertility potential in these strains of primary broiler breeder.