Optimal nutrition, a key to addressing reproductive performance in Nigerian local turkey toms
The Nigerian local turkey has the potential to augment the supply of poultry protein in the country and across the region. However, the fecundity of the breed is low due to neglect and lack of improvement. This work is therefore aimed at shedding some light in some reproductive indices of the local turkey under optimum nutrition. A group of fifteen toms and nine hens were used in this study. The males were grouped into three groups of five and placed on varying levels of protein, 12% CP, 16% CP and 20% CP for groups 1, 2 and 3 respectively. Semen samples were collected and analysed twice weekly for thirteen weeks. Ejaculate volume, semen concentration, semen PH, gross and individual motilities, live and dead sperm and sperm morphology were investigated and recorded. Data were summarized as mean ± SEM (Standard Error of the Mean). The toms in groups 3 had significantly (P < 0.05) higher ejaculate volume 0.29 ± 0.03 mls and semen concentration7.766 ± 0.612 x109 than groups 1 and 2. The fertilizing ability, which was assessed through in vivo and in vitro sperm penetration assays revealed significantly higher number of sperm penetration holes (P < 0.05) in Groups 2 and 3, 160.97 ± 8.084 and 172.83 ± 7.647 (in vivo); 187.96 ± 8.121 and 189.16 ± 6.446 (in vitro) respectively. The local turkey toms could parallel their exotic counterpart under optimum environment, without the need for genetic hybridization and that 20% CP had more positive influence on the semen quality and fertilizing ability of indigenous Nigerian turkey toms followed by 16% CP with 12% CP exerting the least positive influence.
Keywords: Artificial Insemination, Crude protein, Reproduction, Semen, Turkey toms