PREDICTION OF SEMEN TRAITS FROM BIOMETRIC AND SECONDARY SEXUAL TRAITS IN LINES OF SHIKABROWN Â PARENT STOCK

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Department of Agricultural Science

ABSTRACT
An experiment was conducted to predict semen traits from biometric and secondary sexual traits in lines of Shikabrown @ parent stock chickens. A total of 30 roosters (52 weeks old), 15 each from the dam and sire lines were used for the study. For the effect of mating ratio on egg fertility and hatchability, a total of 15 roosters were mated to 90 hens in the dam and sire lines at mating ratio 1:3, 1:6 and 1:9, and a total of 1711 fertile eggs were hatched in three sets. Biometric traits (body weight-BW, body length-BL, breast girth-BG, drumstick length-DSL and shank length-ShL); secondary sexual traits (comb length-CL, comb width-CW, wattle length-WL and wattle width-WW); semen characteristics (semen colour-SC, semen volume-SV, semen pH, sperm motility-SM, sperm concentration-SCo and sperm live ratio-LR) and sperm morphology defect traits (dead ratio-DR, free tail-FT, bent tail-BT, detached head-DH and coiled tail-CT) were evaluated. Number set-NS, number fertile-NF, number infertile-NI, number hatched-NH, percent fertile-PF, percent infertile-PI, percent hatched-PH and percent hatchability-PTH traits were also measured. Data collected were subjected to ANOVA, correlation and regression procedure of SAS, with significant means separated by DMRT procedure. From the results obtained for biometric traits, significant (p<0.05) difference was obtained for BW, BL, DSL and ShL in sire line roosters. Significant (p<0.05) difference was observed for CL, CW and WL for secondary sexual traits in the dam line roosters. High coefficients of variation of 31.76 (SV) in the dam line, and 38.09 (SC) and 39.48 (SV) in the sire line were obtained in this study. The results also showed significant differences (p<0.05) for SC and SCo in the dam line, and semen pH in the sire line. FT and DH were significant (p<0.05) in the sire line. Total sperm morphology defect of 31 % and 29 % were obtained for the dam and sire line roosters respectively. Results obtained for correlation showed significant (p<0.05, p<0.01, xv p<0.001) correlation for some of the traits measured. For the prediction of semen traits from biometric traits in the dam line showed low coefficients of determination (R2) of between 9 % and 28 % in the dam line, and between 9 % and 27 % in the sire line. For prediction of semen traits from secondary sexual traits, coefficients of determination (R2) of between 3 % and 13 % were obtained in the dam line, and between 2 % and 28 % in the sire line. Result for hatching traits showed significant (p<0.05) difference for all traits measured in both lines. Mating ratio affected (p<0.05) hatches in the dam and sire lines. However, weight of day-old chicks was not affected by (p>0.05) mating ratio in both lines. In conclusion, roosters of the sire line were best for BW (5.52 kg), BL (72.89 cm), DSL (16.13 cm) and ShL (10.73 cm). Positive and significant correlation coefficients of 0.36 (BW and LR), 0.32 (BL and SV), 0.36 (BL and LR) and 0.29 (WW and SCo) in the dam line were obtained. For the sire line, significant positive correlation coefficients of 0.42 (BL and LR), 0.36 (BW and LR) and 0.30 (ShL and SCo) were obtained. High coefficients of variation were obtained for SC (31.76) in the dam line, and SC (38.09) and SV (39.48) in the sire line roosters. Sperm morphology defects of 31 % and 29 % were obtained in the dam and sire line roosters respectively. For the dam line, best PF (89.10 %) was observed in mating ratio 1:3, while best PH (62.67 %) and PTH (72.40) were observed for ratio 1:6. In the sire line, best PF (95.40 %), PH (69.37 %) and PTH (72.83 %) were observed for mating ratio 1:6. It is therefore recommended that the sire line roosters be considered for upgrading of local chicken flock. Alternatively, body measurements (BW, BL, WW and ShL) should be considered in the selection of roosters of good semen quality. Potential still abounds for genetic improvement of SV in the dam line, and SC and SV in the sire line roosters, with younger roosters preferred for enhanced fertility. Also, mating ratio of one cock to six hens (1:6) should be adopted for better hatchability of eggs in laying chicken strains.


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