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Supplementation of vitamin A to local chicken diets in tropical environment enhances seminal quality and blood testosterone concentration

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There is insufficient information on the role of micronutrient supplementation on the productivity of local breeder cocks in a tropical environment. The target of this research, thus, was to deduce the impact of dietary vitamin A incorporation on semen traits and testosterone concentration of local breeder cocks in a tropical environment. One hundred twenty-eight–matured Nigerian local breeder cocks aged 10–12 months were alloted to 4 groups (n = 32): a control group (A) was fed experimental diet supplemented with vitamin A at 0 IU/kg feed and supplemented groups (B–D) fed commercial poultry diet supplemented with vitamin A at 250, 500 and 750 IU/kg feed for 16 weeks. Every group was replicated 4 times with 16 birds in every a replicate. A quadratic typed optimization function was employed to determine the optimum vitamin A supplementation that statistically improved serum testosterone and semen quality indices in local breeder cocks. Semen profiling and serum testosterone concentration were analysed at week 4 (pre-supplementation period), and thereafter at weeks 4, 8 and 12 (supplementation period). Serum testosterone and semen quality indices at pre-supplementation period were similar (p < 0.05) among the groups. Birds on 500 IU vitamin A/kg diet produced sperm with highest (p < 0.05) active motile cells and normal morphology compared to birds on the other 3 diets. Local breeder cocks fed diets having 500 and 750 IU vitamin A/kg diet produced sperm with lowest (p < 0.05) sluggish motile cells compared with those fed the control diet. Semen pH, volume, sperm concentration (SC), acrosome morphology defects and serum testosterone concentration were not affected by vitamin A supplementation. The result of the quadratic optimization model revealed that sluggish motile sperm (Y = 41.098−10.230x + 0.903x2; r2 = 0.943, p = 0.039) and normal sperm morphology (Y = 82.665 + 8.834x − 1.500x2; r2 = 0.965, p = 0.001) was optimized (p < 0.05) at 5664 and 2945 IU/kg feed, respectively. However, other parameters estimated were not significantly influenced. It is concluded that vitamin A supplementation enhanced sperm quality in local breeder cocks.

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The authors are grateful to the staff of Clinical Chemistry Laboratory of the Federal Medical Centre Owerri, Nigeria for carrying out the semen and hormone assay.

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Correspondence to I. P. Ogbuewu.

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Ogbuewu, I.P., Okoro, V.M., Mbajiorgu, E.F. et al. Supplementation of vitamin A to local chicken diets in tropical environment enhances seminal quality and blood testosterone concentration. Trop Anim Health Prod (2020).

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  • Vitamin A,
  • Local breed cocks,
  • Semen,
  • Testosterone,
  • Quadratic function,
  • Optimization