Dietary Fish and Evening Primrose Oil with Vitamin E Effects on Semen Variables in Cockerels

Source: S. Cerolini, P.F. Surai, B.K. Speake, and N.H.C. Sparks
Our aim was to determine the effect of n-3 (2%, wt/wt, fish oil rich diet) and n-6 (2%, wt/wt, evening primrose oil rich diet) fatty acid dietary supplementation and their combination with two concentrations of vitamin E (40 vs 200mg/kg) on semen variables and on fatty acid and vitamin E profiles of spermatozoa in broiler breeders at 32, 42 and 52 weeks of age. The inclusion of fish oil in the cockerel diets increased the docosahexaenoic acid proportion in the sperm phospholipid fraction, which was almost threefold higher compared to the other two groups irrespective of vitamin E supplementation. In contrast, an increase in the proportion of total n-6 polyunsaturates, mainly 22:4n-6, was observed in the evening primrose oil group compared to the control only when the dietary content of vitamin E was increased to 200mg/kg. Sperm concentration was decreased in the fish and evening primrose oil groups if vitamin E was 40mg/kg, but such an effect was prevented in the fish, not the evening primrose oil group, by increasing the vitamin E to 200mg. The proportion of motile spermatozoa was improved by the increased supplementation of vitamin E in all oil treatments.