Manganese is an essential microelement. Manganese deficiency affects reproduction performance and reproductive hormones in layers. However, little is known about its effects and the possible mechanism in regulating reproduction in broiler breeder hens. In the current study, broiler breeder hens at peak production were fed with diets supplemented with 0, 120, or 240 mg of Mn/kg as MnSO4 or Mn proteinate for 13 wk. Manganese supplementation did not alter egg laying rate, egg weight, fertility, hatchability, or hatchling weight over a 13-wk trial period. However, 240 mg of Mn/kg supplementation significantly increased serum Mn (P < 0.05). Manganese supplements increased the eggshell breaking strength (P < 0.05) without affecting the eggshell thickness. There was no difference in serum cholesterol and estradiol. Expression of follicle-stimulating hormone) and gonadotropin-releasing hormone-I (GnRH-I) genes was significantly elevated by 240 mg of Mn/kg (P < 0.05). Furthermore, inorganic Mn supplementation doubled GnRH-I expression compared with supplementation with the organic form (P < 0.05), although serum Mn was comparable between these 2 supplements. No obvious difference was shown in gene expression of luteinizing hormone, prolactin, GnRH-I receptor, inducible NO synthase, and dopamine receptor D1 in the pituitary as well as tyrosine hydroxylase and inducible NO synthase in the hypothalamus. This suggests that dietary Mn supplementation could improve eggshell quality in the long term. The central mechanism of nontoxic high doses of Mn suggested the transcriptional activation of GnRH-I and follicle-stimulating hormone genes. The central effect of inorganic Mn activating GnRH-I genes compared with the reduced effect by organic Mn could possibly be due to a decreased capacity of the latter passing through the blood-brain barrier.