SEMEN QUALITY AND REPRODUCTIVE ORGAN WEIGHTS OF PUBERTAL BOARS FED DIETARY COPPER
Adu, O. A. AND G. N. Egbunike
Department of Animal Download Full PDF Production and Health,
Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria
Animal Physiology Laboratory, Department of Animal Science,
University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria
Journal of Applied Agricultural Research 2010, 2: 11-19
© Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria, 2010
Dietary copper was fed to thirty-two male Large White weaner pigs of 8-9 weeks of age. The animals were randomly assigned to four diets containing 0, 100, 200 and 300 ppm Cu/kg constituting diets: control, 2, 3, and 4, respectively. After 6 months, semen samples were collected from the pubertal boars and analysed. After the mating exercise, all the pubertal boars were slaughtered, their reproductive systems dissected, and the weights of the testes and epididymis as well as the volumes of the testes recorded. Dietary copper had significant (P<0.05) influence on the semen characteristics except the gel weight and morphological abnormalities, likewise the gonadal and extra-gonadal characteristics of the pubertal boars.
Research focusing on the inclusion of trace minerals in the diets of breeding boars has been rather limited when compared to other species and even other classes of swine (Estienne and Harper, 1996). Reasons for this relative lack of attention probably include the fact that boars constitute a relatively small part of the entire swine population. Trace minerals include iron, zinc, copper, selenium, molybdenum, manganese, chromium, cobalt, and iodine. Zinc,
copper, and selenium are generally considered as being important in male reproductive function (Bedwal and Bahuguna, 1994). Semen production is of great importance for pig breeding programmes, especially when artificial insemination (AI) is used. However, sperm production does not occur at a constant rate; many factors, known and unknown, influence semen quality and quantity (Colenbrander and Kemp, 1990). The level of reproductive performance in domestic animals depends on the interaction of genetic and environmental factors such as climate,
nutrition, management and diseases. The objective of this study was to examine the effects of copper, a trace mineral on semen quality, fertility and reproductive organ weight of boars fed dietary copper.