U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version

May 2004


Published by 2004 Poultry Science 83:234-244.


Contraception may provide a useful nonlethal management tool when it is desirable to reduce populations of birds. We tested the efficacy of 20,25 diazacholesterol, and immunization with avian gonadotropin-releasing hormone (AGnRH-I) and chicken riboflavin carrier protein (cRCP) as contraceptives and investigated their modes of action in Coturnix quail (Coturnix coturnix japonica). Females that were paired with males treated with 20,25 diazacholesterol produced lower percentages of eggs that were fertile and hatched. Females treated with 20,25 diazacholesterol and paired with control males laid fewer eggs, and lower percentages of their eggs were fertile and hatched. Treatment with 20,25 diazacholesterol reduced testosterone levels in males and progesterone levels in females. Nonesterified cholesterol levels were reduced, whereas desmosterol levels increased in birds treated with 20,25 diazacholesterol. Treatment with AGnRH-I and cRCP immunocontraceptive vaccines did not decrease average egg production and hatchability or hormone levels, but this failure might have been due to the vaccination protocol. If registered, wildlife managers may be able to use 20,25 diazacholesterol when other methods, such as lethal control, are undesirable for reducing damage caused by specific breeding behaviors such as the building of nests.