Influence of plumage colour on hatchability and growth performance of Japanese Quail (Coturnix coturnix japonica)
Keywords:Body weight, feed conversion, fertility, hatchability, Japanese quail, plumage
AbstractA study was conducted to determine the effects of plumage colour on hatchability traits and growth performance of Japanese quails raised for six weeks. A total of 360 eggs (120 eggs/ variant) were obtained from established random-bred pure variants of Japanese quail in the animal pavilion of the Department of Animal production University of Ilorin. Eggs were grouped according to plumage colour varieties i.e. Pharaoh Quail (Black), A & M white (White) and Manchurian Gold (Brown). The eggs were weighed, labeled and incubated separately based on the plumage colour. Hatched chicks were weighed and labeled according to treatment groups and transferred to separate electrically heated brooding pens. All chicks were fed quail starter ration of 24% crude protein and 2800Kcal/kg of metabolizable energy. Data were collected on fertility and hatchability of incubated eggs, weekly feed intake, weight gain and feed conversion ratio. Data were subjected to one-way analysis of variance using the general linear procedure of SAS (2012). Fertility, hatchability of incubated eggs and of fertile eggs was highest in the Black variety with values of 93.88%, 78.57% and 83.70% respectively. In the brown variety, the values were 87.23%, 53.19% and 60.98% respectively while the white variety had values of 56.15%, 42.31% and 75.34% respectively. Mean hatch weight was significantly (P<0.05) highest in the Black variety. However, subsequent body weight was highest (P<0.05) in the Brown variety with no significant difference (P>0.05) between the Black and White varieties until the sixth week of age where the Brown and the Black varieties were similar (P>0.05) in body weight. There was no significant difference (P>0.05) in feed intake, weight gain and feed conversion ratio (FCR) among means obtained for the three strains though feed intake and FCR were numerically lower in the Black variety while weight gain and FCR were numerically higher in the Brown and white varieties respectively. The use of black varieties of Japanese quail is recommended for meat production based on its superior fertility, hatchability, feed conversion efficiency and week six body weight.