Dietary Supplements Improve Sperm Quality in StallionsBy Kentucky Equine Research Staff · November 4, 2014
Whether stallions breed by live cover or have their semen collected for artificial insemination, it’s important for them to produce vigorous and healthy sperm. Stallion diets, like those of other horses, should be based on good-quality forage with concentrates added to supply sufficient energy for whatever work the horses are being asked to perform. In addition to forage and grain, stallions can benefit from dietary supplements that support their reproductive capabilities.
Supplementing stallion diets with fish oil has been shown to increase sperm production, concentration, and motility. Fish oil also improved the quality of shipped semen. Supplementing with natural-source vitamin E, a potent antioxidant, improved sperm quality and boosted resistance to cold shock for shipped semen.
For stallions coming into the breeding season, make any feed management changes gradually so that the horse’s digestive system has time to adapt to the new regimen. Sperm produced in the testes take almost 60 days to mature and be ready for ejaculation. For this reason, adding supplements should begin several months before the breeding season so that the stallion has time to incorporate these nutrients into semen that is being produced.