1. The effects of the age of male and female broiler breeders on fertility, hatchability and sexual behaviour were determined in two 2x2 factorial experiments. In the 1st, male and female birds 27 to 29 and 35 to 37 weeks and in the 2nd at 35 to 37 and 55 to 57 weeks of age were compared. 2. Fertility was not affected by the age of the males or females. 3. Early embryo deaths were higher and hatchability of fertile eggs was lower in eggs from females aged 27 to 29 and 55 to 57 weeks compared with eggs from birds aged 35 to 37 weeks. 4. There were no differences in male display behaviours at any age. The number of observed matings were higher in young males 27 to 29 weeks old compared with males 35 to 37 and 55 to 57 weeks of age. There were no detectable differences in the responses of the females to the males at different ages. 5. Plasma testosterone concentration in males increased from 24 to 30 weeks of age and was relatively constant from 36 to 60 weeks. Plasma oestrogen in females was high at 24 and lowest at 30 weeks of age after which it increased. 6. The results suggest that there may be little difference in the fertility of male and female broiler breeders at different ages when body weight is adequately controlled to at least 60 weeks of age.
- Age Factors
- Chick Embryo
- Random Allocation
- Sexual Behavior, Animal/physiology