Corn is the major energy ingredient in diets, and many ingredients have been tested aiming to replace it. In this regard, sorghum stands out for its chemical profile similar to that of corn. However, because it is low in carotenoids, its inclusion in diets reduces the egg yolk color pigmentation, which can be corrected by the addition of synthetic pigments. This study aimed to evaluate the performance and egg quality of Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica) supplemented with red (canthaxanthin) and yellow (apo-ester 10%) synthetic pigments. A total of 150 quail at 70 days of age were distributed according to the experimental diet [R1: corn-based control diet (DC); R2: sorghum-based diet (DS); R3: DS + yellow; R4: DS + yellow + red; and R5: DS + red] with six replications and five birds per experimental unit, for 28 days. Performance, egg quality, yolk color, and feed cost characteristics were evaluated. Regression equations were estimated for the effects of color as a function of periods, and treatment means were compared by Tukey's test at 0.05 probability. There was no significant effect (P>0.05) of additives on the quail productive traits. However, addition of synthetic pigments significantly improved the chromatic profile of the yolks (P<0.05). Inclusion of synthetic pigments improves yolk color, but should be evaluated according to market demands.
chromatic analysis; canthaxanthin; yolk color