Scrotal, testicular and semen characteristics of young Boer bucks fed winter veld hay: The effect of nutritional supplementation
Almeida, A.; Schwalbach, L.; Cardoso, L.; Greyling, J.
Small ruminant research 73(1-3): 216-220
ISSN/ISBN: 0921-4488 DOI: 10.1016/j.smallrumres.2007.02.001
The aim of the work was to determine the effects of feeding winter veld hay plus a supplement on scrotal, testicular and semen characteristics in young Boer goat bucks. Fifteen Boer goat bucks (6-8 months of age), were allocated to two groups and fed ad libitum for a period of 29 days. The WH group (winter hay or control group; n = 8) received a chopped diet consisting of grass hay, predominantly Themeda triandra grass (cut during the winter) from natural pastures (veld). The WH + S group (winter hay plus supplement; n = 7) received the same diet consisting of Themeda triandra veld hay and supplemented with maize meal, molasses meal and urea. Body weights and feed intake were recorded, as well as scrotal, testicular and semen characteristics. Results indicate a detrimental effect of winter veld hay feeding on characteristics such as sperm cell abnormalities (43% in the WH group versus 24%, in WH group), testicular volume (156 ml in the WH + S group versus 104 ml for WH animals) or scrotal circumference (20.7 cm in WH + S group versus 17.7 cm in WH group). It is essential to supplement the nutrition of small ruminants under winter environments. to maintain scrotal, testicular and semen characteristics, especially if the animals are to be used in the subsequent breeding season.