Digestible threonine and its effects on growth performance, gut morphology and carcass characteristics in broiler Japanese quails (Coturnix coturnix japonica)
Threonine is the third limiting amino acid in corn-soy-based poultry diets and has an important role in body and intestinal development of chicken. Although work on threonine (Thr) in chicken is well established, information about the effects of digestible threonine (dThr) on quail performance is limited. Therefore, the current study was designed to determine the impact of increasing levels of dThr on growth performance, feed conversion ratio (FCR), gut health and carcass characteristics in meat-type quails. A total of 324 mixed-sex day-old quail were randomly allocated to three treatments with six replicates per treatment and 18 birds per replicate. There were three dietary treatments, namely control (C) with recommended levels of dThr according to the Brazilian Tables guidelines for Japanese quails: 10% dThr (C diet supplemented with 10% more dThr) and 20%dThr (C diet supplemented with 20% more dThr). At day 35 of the experiment, three birds from each pen were slaughtered. A duodenal sample was collected and preserved to evaluate gut health. The carcass characteristics were determined from the slaughtered birds. Total feed intake and average daily feed intake were higher in the C treatment than in 10% dThr. Final bodyweight (BW), weight gain and average daily gain (ADG) increased linearly. The birds fed diets supplemented with 20% extra dThr had the highest final weight and bodyweight gain (BWG) compared with those birds that were fed on C and 10% dThr supplemented diets. Feed conversion ratio was improved in 10% dThr compared with the C birds. Villus height (VH) was similar among treatments. The highest crypt depth (CD) was observed in C, followed by 10% dThr and 20% dThr. The birds fed 20% dThr had higher VH:CD than 10% dThr. The birds in the C treatment had lowest VH:CD. Carcass weights with and without giblets were higher in the 20% dThr than in the 10% dThr and C treatments. Breast mass yield (BMY) was greatest in 20% dThr compared with C and 10% dThr. It may be concluded that supplementation of Thr higher than the requirements referred to in Brazilian Tables improves growth performance and gut health of meat-type quail.
Keywords: Crypt depth, mucin, performance, quail, villus height