Reprod. Nutr. Dev.
Volume 44, Number 1, January-February 2004
|Page(s)||49 - 63|
Rearing management of rabbit males selected by high growth rate: the effect of diet and season on semen characteristicsJuan José Pascuala, Claudia Garcíaa, Eugenio Martíneza, Eva Mocéb and José Salvador Vicenteb
a Unidad de Alimentación Animal, Departamento de Ciencia Animal, Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, PO Box 22012, Valencia 46071, Spain
b Laboratorio de Biotecnología de la Reproducción, Departamento de Ciencia Animal, Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, PO Box 22012, Valencia 46071, Spain
(Received 28 May 2003; accepted 15 November 2003)
Abstract - A total of sixty-six young males were used to evaluate the effect of low (L), medium (M) and high (H) concentrations of dietary digestible energy received during the rearing seasons (autumn and spring) on the performance and main semen characteristics of males for artificial insemination selected by a high growth rate. Males reared during the spring season presented a significantly higher weight at weaning than those reared during the autumn season (P < 0.001), and these differences were maintained until the end of the trial. The requirements of the males were easily covered as a general rule. In the autumn group, the males were unable to intake the digestible protein recommended only during their 3rd month of life, especially with low concentrate diets (P < 0.05). H males showed higher semen concentration and production during the autumn season, while L males showed a higher semen concentration and production than M males during the spring season, the H group showed intermediate values (P < 0.001). Males reared during the spring season showed significantly higher values of sperm concentration (P < 0.01) and production (P < 0.01). H males presented a lower percentage of spermatozoa with cytoplasmic droplets than the L group (P < 0.05) and the lowest values for sperm abnormalities during the autumn season, while the L group presented higher values for percentage abnormalities, especially during the last month controlled (P < 0.05). As a general rule, the main motility parameters controlled were not affected by the rearing diet received nor the season. These results seem to indicate that the management of rabbit males during the growing and rearing periods seem to significantly affect their subsequent performance and semen production.
Key words: rabbit males / rearing / semen characteristics / dietary energy / season
Corresponding author: Juan José Pascual firstname.lastname@example.org
© INRA, EDP Sciences 2004