EFFECTS OF FEEDER SHAPE ON BEHAVIORAL PATTERNS, PERFORMANCE AND EGG QUALITY TRAITS OF JAPANESE QUAIL
Offering the food to Japanese quails may help to reorganize their behavioral needs. However, limited data was reported on the effect of feeder shape on birds’ behaviors, welfare, and productivity. Herein, the main objective was to assess the effects of the most available feeder shapes in the Egyptian market on the birds’ behaviors. The shape of feeders were longitudinal, vertical-narrow, vertical-wide and round. All the used feeders were made from plastic, marked with a grey color and enriched with a net. A total of 180 one-day old Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica) were divided into four experimental groups (three replicates of each). Behavioral patterns of birds were investigated by direct observation and video recording for four days per week using scan sampling technique. The results indicated that there were feeder shape-dependent-differences in quail behaviors demonstrating the highest significant (P<0.001) levels of activity behaviors in a round feeder compared to other groups. Moreover, the highest significant (P<0.001) levels of resting behaviors within a vertical-wide feeder group. Likewise, flying behavior was recorded in the above mentioned group. However, the fear associated responses and alertness were the highest significant level (P<0.001 each) in longitudinal and vertical-wide feeders. Noticeably, the aggressive pecking was the highest significant (P<0.001) levels in birds dealt with a longitudinal feeder. Meanwhile, almost of a quail’s egg quality traits demonstrated the highest significant values (P<0.001) during offering round containers for the birds. The results therefore suggested that quails might have a preference to deal more with a round feeder shape than other shapes. These findings may also have great implications to researchers, veterinarians and stakeholders to decide the most economic feeder shape of quails for greater performance and productivity.
Key words: feeder shape; welfare; egg quality; quail
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