In order to assess the effects of subgroup J avian leukosis virus (ALV-J) on semen quality, broiler breeder males were separated by ALV-J status (ALV-J positive = POS, ALV-J negative = NEG) at 44 wk of age. Of the 249 males originally placed at 1 day of age, 101 (40.6%) died by 43 wk of age. Observations of tumor expression and high mortality suggest that many of the males that died prior to 44 wk of age were infected with ALV-J.
From 47 to 56 wk of age, hens were inseminated every third week with 7.5 × 107 sperm. Fertility and hatch data were collected by incubating eggs laid during the 2 wk postinsemination (WPI). The number of sperm that penetrated the perivitelline membrane of the ovum was determined from eggs laid on the eighth day postinsemination. Sperm mobility index (SMI) was determined at 58 and 60 wk of age from all males producing semen.
Whereas SMI and sperm hole penetration measurements indicated that the sperm quality from treatments POS and NEG were similar, fertility was significantly greater in the POS treatment during the first (89.0% vs. 79.0%) and second WPI (59.3% vs. 45.0%). However, because of numerically higher hatch of fertile from the NEG group, the percentage of hatch of eggs set was similar between groups. These data suggest that ALV-J status of caged males has no influence on sperm quality or hatchability of eggs.