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Diet, welfare and male and female bird fertility : the complex relationship

Inra Prod.Anim., 24 (2), 171-180


1 GRELIER, 11 rue Saint Eloi, F-49290 Saint-Laurent de la Plaine, France

2 FERTIL’AVI, 10 rue du 8 Mai, F-37360 Rouziers de Touraine, France

3 CCPA, Service Avicole Cunicole, Parc d’activité du bois de Teillay, F-35150 Janze, France

4 INRA, UMR85 Physiologie de la Reproduction et des Comportements, F-37380 Nouzilly, France

5 CNRS, Physiologie de la Reproduction et des Comportements, F-37380 Nouzilly, France

6 Université François Rabelais de Tours, F-37041 Tours, France

7 Haras Nationaux, F-37380 Nouzilly, France


In birds, as in other species, nutrition and energy influence the function of reproduction. The hyperphagic models have shown the negative effect of over-feeding in both sexes, and the potential rescue by food restriction treatment which can increase the length of the fertile period. However, the mechanisms underlying the relationship between nutrition, energy metabolism and reproductive functions are poorly understood. These changes in metabolic and nutritional status can be transmitted to the gonadotrope axis (hypothalamus, pituitary and gonads) by changes in hormone levels (insulin, adipokines...), or directly by the energy substrates (glucose, fatty acids and amino acids). Briefly, we discuss the effects of different components of the diet on fertility. Finally, we discuss alternative methods involving qualitative restriction rather than quantitative methods on feeding in order to improve animal welfare and in particular by reducing the behaviour of frustration and hunger.

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