Boron (B) and selenium (Se) sometimes occur together in high concentrations in the environment and can accumulate in plants and invertebrates consumed by waterfowl. One hundred twenty-six pairs of breeding mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) were fed diets supplemented with B (as boric acid) at 0, 450, or 900 ppm, in combination with Se (as seleno-DL-methionine) at 0, 3.5, or 7 ppm, in a replicated factorial experiment. Ducklings produced received the same treatment combination as their parents. Boron and Se accumulated in adult liver, egg, and duckling liver. In adults, B and Se caused weight loss, and B decreased hemoglobin concentration, egg weight, and egg fertility. Both B and Se reduced hatching success and duckling weight, and B reduced duckling growth and duckling production, and caused several alterations in duckling liver biochemistry. Duckling survival was not reduced by B or Se, and neither B nor Se had histopathologic effects on adult or duckling liver, kidney, or spleen. There was little evidence of interaction between B and Se. This study demonstrated that B and Se, in the chemical forms and at the dietary levels administered in this study, can adversely affect mallard reproduction and duckling growth.
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Effects of boron and selenium on mallard reproduction and duckling growth and survival