Effect of stocking density on growth and reproductive performance of Japanese Quails

A.P.S. Dhaliwal and S.S. Nagra
Department of Livestock Production and Management
Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana - 141 004

Two experiments, one each during summer and winter season were conducted on Japanese quail (Coturnix coturnixjaponica) to study the effects of varying stocking densities on their growth and reproductive performance. Growth performance was recorded from 0-35 days of age and the reproductive performance was recorded for 12 weeks during summer and 15 weeks during winter after 50 per cent egg production was achieved. The birds were kept in cages and provided 40 cm 2 floor space/bird for the first 14 days and then shifted to 50, 60, 70 and 80 cm 2/bird floor space providing stocking densities of 200, 167, 143 and 125 birds/m 2 during 15-35 days of age. On 36 th day, all birds were remixed and reallocated different floor spaces of 120, 130, 140 and 150 cm 2/bird providing stocking densities of 83.33, 76.92, 71.42 and 66.66 birds/m 2. All stocking densities were tested in duplicate. Similar schedule was followed in both the seasons. All other feeding and management conditions were similar for all the birds. The results indicated no significant (P<0.05) effect of different stocking densities on growth rate, average feed consumption, FCR and PER but mortality was very high (16-20%) with stocking densities of 167 and 200 birds/m 2 during summer. The dressing percentage was better and proportion of prime cuts i.e. breast and leg meat in the dressed carcasses increased with the decrease in stocking density. The egg breakage was lowest and percent fertility was significantly (P<0.05) high with a stocking density of 66.66 birds/m 2. The egg weight increased with the decrease in stocking density. The hen-day egg production, egg weight, feed intake/bird/day, fertility and shell thickness were significantly higher during winter irrespective of stocking density. Similarly, the hen-day egg production, shell thickness and percent fertility were significantly (P<0.05) higher and feed intake/bird/day was lower with a stocking density of 66.66 bird/m 2 irrespective of the season. The interaction of the season and stocking density was significant for hen-day egg production and feed intake/bird/day. The birds produced highest number of eggs and consumed lowest amount of feed when housed with a stocking density of 66.66 birds/m 2 both in summer and winter seasons. The interactions for egg weight, shell thickness and percent fertility were not significant. It was concluded that keeping in view all economical parameters the fast growing Japanese quails should not be housed with stocking densities above 125 and 143 birds/m 2 in summer and winter, respectively, during growth period and above 66.66 birds/m 2 during laying period in both the seasons.

Source : IPSACON-2005

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