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Relationships Between Fertility and Some Parameters in Male Broiler Breeders (Body and Testicular Weight, Histology and Immunohistochemistry of Testes, Spermatogenesis and Hormonal Levels)


Author’s address (for correspondence): M Pizarro Díaz, Department of Animal Medicine and Surgery (Pathology), Veterinary School, Universidad Complutense, Madrid, Spain. E-mail:


In a farm of grandparent broiler breeder chickens, we followed the development of 350 roosters from 6 to 55 weeks of age. Data collected and evaluated from these males included body weight, testicular weight, histologic and immunohistochemistry studies of the testes, hormone levels (testosterone, estradiol and corticosterone) and sperm production. The objective was to understand the factors that affect or influence hatch loss that is commonly observed after 45 weeks of age in breeder flocksare often correlated to broiler breeder male chickens. The results of this study showed that in conjunction with the weight of the rooster, the testicle weight increases quickly after the rooster receives light stimulation. At an older age, the study showed that there is a process of testicular shrinkage, and the same effect is seen in sperm production and testosterone levels in broiler breeder roosters. From the histology evaluation, we defined 5 histologic phases that illustrate the evolution of the testicular tissue: perinatal, infantile, puberty, adult and senile. We observed that the adult males with a body weight <3800 g were infertile or had subfertile levels and also had low levels of testosterone and high levels of corticosterone. In contrast, the heaviest males showed correct testicular vitality, high levels of testosterone and low levels of corticosterone. However, the roosters that had acquired this high body weight were also at risk of having less complete copulations because of their physical mass. The loss of uniformity of the males and the appearance of hierarchies within the flock accompany a decline in the percentages of hatches as a consequence of the poor confirmation of the males for copulation or the restriction to the access to the females. Results of this study show that the decrease in fertility from 45 weeks of age has been associated with a decline in testicular weight, sperm production and the testosterone levels in animals with a sub-par weight. Likewise, decreasing hatch in older flocks may also result from a loss of conformation, and the lack of complete copulations is possible because of animals that are grossly overweight.