An investigation was conducted with a total of one hundred and fifty (150) semen samples collected randomly from six (6) toms and one thousand three hundred and fifty eggs (1350) from forty-five (45) hens to evaluate the effect of diluents, age of semen and insemination doses on viability and fertility of turkey semen preserved at ambient temperature. Results of the work revealed that the semen qualities of those toms used for the work were not statistically different (P>0.05). The rate of semen survival per hour shows that in diluent (DIII) containing coconut milk a highly significant difference (P<0.01) in rates of survival of sperm during the 8 hour period was observed. Other diluents preserved sperm for a reasonable period of time, diluent (D0) lasted for 4 hrs, DI lasted for 5 hrs whereas DII also sustained survival of sperm for above 6 hrs before the sharp decline. The level of fertility recorded in all the diluents using different dosages showed that diluent D0 containing 0.2ml recorded the highest yield. The overall result in this case showed a highly significant difference (P<0.01). In the aspect of hatchability, diluent DI produced the highest number of chicks valued 63.48+8.27% .Significantly higher (P<0.01) hatch of fertile eggs and eggs set was obtained from hens inseminated with semen diluted in DIII than other diluents. From the work, it is evident that metabolizable substrates containing coconut milk and other diluents used proved efficient. The results show that careful improvement and utilization of those local and affordable diluents would enhance turkey semen preservation and artificial insemination practice in our local environment.

1.1      Background of the study
Turkey, a large poultry bird, is fast gaining popularity among peasant farmers in the country to the extent that they are produced throughout the year for commercial purpose. All over the world Turkey is produced by breeders due to its body size, comformation and edible meat yield. Reproductive traits like its oviparous nature and low to medium fertility have not prevented a reasonable rate of improvement under natural condition even in developing countries (Esminger, 1977).Following the quest for massive production of animals like pigs, rabbit and poultry with short reproduction cycle as a major remedy to acute animal protein shortage in Nigeria, emphasis is placed on poultry and its products because they are acceptable to almost all peoples, religions and communities. Among all the species of poultry in Nigeria, turkeys appear to be the less distributed with a population of (0.2 million) (FDLPCS, 1992).

However, it is highly cherished due to its large body size and high meat quality. In Nigeria, about 90% of turkeys are produced for Christmas market mainly for these reasons (Smith, 1990; Veg.Soc.2007).

Although this may be the case, the scanty distribution of turkey in the peri-urban and rural areas of the country calls for serious concern. A notable reason for low distribution of turkey could be its reduced fertility compared to chicken, which factor places serious constraints to its rapid development especially under peasant farming conditions. The natural characteristic of male turkey (large body size) often results to reduced libido and low fertility which discrepancies cause toms not to mate frequently thereby resulting to low reproductive efficiency in turkeys under natural mating conditions.

The development of artificial insemination technology over the past decades has resulted in some significant advances in Turkey breeding. The objective of turkey artificial insemination programme is however not to produce fertile eggs but to produce viable poults (Murray, 1993). The US turkey industry relies on artificial insemination for the production of 300 million turkey annually (William, 2003). In developed world where artificial insemination is exclusively used to achieve acceptable level of fertility, donor toms as a rule are subjected to semen quality evaluation for fertility prediction (Donoghue, 1998). This idea coupled with the improvements on the technique of avian semen storage at ambient temperature, has led to increased multiplication of turkey in developed parts of the world. The situation is rather different in developing countries where these techniques are not adopted and producers have to rely on natural mating and egg hatching techniques to produce poults. Nigeria is one of such developing countries where the use of Artificial Insemination (AI) is still at the experimental stage such that turkey poults are imported for rearing and natural methods are applied on existing local stock to produce poults for turkey meat production.

1.2      Statement of the problem
It is well known that male breeders (stags) are usually bred for large body size and become too broad breasted and heavy to mate naturally with the comparatively smaller hen. The accompanying results in the inability of males to complete mating sessions successfully, causing low fertility under natural mating condition. Apart from this, ejaculated turkey spermatozoa is reported to perish after several minutes outside its own seminal fluid (Free potent soline.com 2001) and rapidly lose viability and fertilizing capacity when stored either undiluted or diluted at physiological temperatures (Leighton et. al., 1969; Lake and Ravie, 1982). AX et al. (2000) also reported that the survival of turkey ejaculated sperm in seminal plasma alone is limited to a few hours. As such its fertilizing ability is impaired or hampered and this often results to low production of poults.

In turkey breeding there is need to prolong the viability and duration of the fertilizing capacity of turkey sperm for genetic improvement and economic advantage. There is also the need to have repeatable techniques necessary to maintain the fertilizing potential of ejaculates from 6 to 24 hours under field condition. It is necessary to develop effective techniques for semen collection, dilution and insemination in the field to solve the problem of infertile mating under natural conditions for the benefit of small and large scale turkey producers in the country....

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Item Type: Postgraduate Material  |  Attribute: 75 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: N3,000  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.


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