Main content area

Study of the effects of dietary lutein on reproductive performances in chickens

Pizzey, H., Bedecarrats, G.Y
J. poult. sci 2007 v.44 no.4 pp. 409-415
fertilization (reproduction), lutein, reproductive efficiency, animal performance, chickens, dietary supplements, ad libitum feeding, experimental diets, semen, sperm motility, artificial insemination, roosters
The aim of the present study was to determine the effects of dietary supplementation of lutein on reproductive performances in mature chickens. At 40 weeks of age, 15 Barred Rock roosters (n = 5 per treatment) and 108 hens (n = 36 per treatment) were randomly assigned to one of three groups and fed ad libitum a standard diet supplemented with 0, 30, or 120 ppm lutein. Semen was collected from each rooster by abdominal massage twice weekly, and sperm analyses (concentration, viability, and motility) were performed on individual semen samples collected the day before (d0) and 19 (d19) and 29 (d29) days after introduction to diets. Semen collected on d31, d32, and d37 was pooled according to treatment, and used to inseminate 1 replicate of hens (n = 12) per treatment. Eggs were candled at 9 and 14 days to determine fertility, and stage of embryonic mortality (early, mid, late) was assessed by breaking out all unhatched eggs. Although no significant difference in sperm concentration, motility, or viability was observed between treatments, roosters fed the 120 ppm lutein diet tended to display a higher sperm motility and viability at d29 (P>0.05). To account for the large degree of variation between individuals, sperm analyses data for each rooster were also corrected to their initial value. Normalized data indicate that, although not significant, roosters fed the 120 ppm lutein diet still tended to display a higher sperm viability at d29 (P>0.05). No significant effect of dietary lutein was observed on fertility, embryonic survival, or hatchability. These results indicate that unlike other antioxidants, dietary supplementation of lutein (at 30 or 120 ppm) does not significantly improve reproductive performance in mature chickens, as measured here by sperm quality and fertility, nor does it improve embryo survival.