Response of Japanese Breeder Quails to Varying Dietary Protein Levels in the Tropics
A three months feeding trial was conducted to assess the effects of feeding varying levels of dietary protein on productive performance, egg quality characteristics and hatchability using 930 six weeks breeders quails. The birds were randomly divided into five dietary treatment groups of 186 birds, and were further replicated three times with 62 birds (50 females, 12 males) per replicate. They were fed five experimental diets containing either 18, 20, 22, 24 or 26% CP. Feed and water were provided ad libitum through out the experimental period. The results obtained did not show significant effect (P>0.05) on final live weight, % change in body weight, feed conversion ratio, cost per dozen or crate of egg produced, hen-day-production, hen-housed production and peak egg production across the dietary treatments. However, significant differences (P<0.05) were observed for feed intake, age at peak production, egg weight and percent mortality across the dietary treatments. Dietary protein levels had no significant (P>0.05) effects on Haugh unit, egg shape index, percent egg shell, egg shell index, egg specific gravity and egg shell thickness. Significant differences (P<0.05) were observed across dietary treatments for % hatchability, fertility and chick weight at hatch. Chick weight at day-old increased with increase in the level of dietary protein. It was concluded that dietary protein level of 22%CP is required for optimum production, egg quality characteristics and reproductive performance of breeder quails in the tropics.
Keywords: Response, breeder quails, hatchability, characteristics, performance. Dietary, protein levels