Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Animal Science

First Advisor

Dr. Anthony J. Pescatore


The objectives of these experiments were to evaluate the effects of selenium (Se) and vitamin E (Vit.E) supplementation in maternal and progeny diets on the performance of breeder hens and the performance and meat quality characteristics of progeny.

Inclusion of Se, as Se yeast, in the diets of developing broiler breeder pullets resulted in greater Se accumulation of Se (P<0.01) in liver, pancreas, and breast tissues than when Se yeast was not provided. Improving the overall Se status of breeder pullets in the early stages may help maintain adequate tissue Se concentrations during egg production.

Maternal supplementation of Se yeast and Vit.E increased the liver and breast Se concentration (P<0.05) of newly hatched chicks compared to the chicks originating from hens not receiving dietary Se. At 7d of age, Se yeast supplementation in either the chick or maternal diet increased breast and liver Se concentrations (P<0.01). At 14d of age, breast and liver Se concentrations remained the highest for chicks supplemented with Se yeast (P<0.01), however there was no effect of maternal Se supplementation. Vitamin E supplementation in either the chick or maternal diets did not affect the liver Vit.E concentrations of chicks at 7 or 14d of age.

Supplementing broiler diets with Se yeast and Vit.E improved the meat quality characteristics of raw and marinated breast fillets. The Se content of breast meat from broilers fed Se yeast was higher (P<0.01) than those from broilers that were not fed Se yeast. Antioxidant supplementation improved the drip loss (P<0.05) and oxidative stability (P<0.10) of raw breast fillets after 7d of refrigerated storage. Marination appeared to increase the susceptibility for lipid oxidation of the marinated breast fillets. Dietary supplementation of Se yeast and Vit.E reduced lipid oxidation (P<0.01) of marinated breast fillets after prolonged refrigerated storage, thus improving oxidative stability.

Overall, dietary supplementation of Se yeast can increase the accumulation of Se in the tissues of broiler breeder hens and their subsequent progeny. Improvements in the avian antioxidant system may have beneficial effects on the performance of broiler breeder hens, broilers, and the meat quality characteristics of broiler breast fillets.