The Effect of Calcium and Available Phosphorus Levels on Performance, Egg Quality and Bone Characteristics of Japanese Quails at End of the Egg-Production Phase

CLN Ribeiro SLT Barreto RS Reis JCL Muniz GS Viana V Ribeiro Junior MO Mendonça RC Ferreira AA DeGroot About the authors

ABSTRACT

Calcium (Ca) and available phosphorus (avP) requirements for egg production are different between the beginning and the end of the egg-production cycle. The objective of this study was to estimate the Ca and avP requirements of Japanese quails at end of the production phase. In total, 256 Japanese quails with 48 weeks of age were randomly distributed in 2 x 2 factorial arrangement consisting of two Ca levels (29 and 38 g/kg) and two avP levels (1.5 and 3.0 g/kg), totaling four treatments with eight replicates of eight hens each. The variables evaluated were feed intake (FI); egg production (EP); marketable egg production (MEP); egg weight (EW); egg mass (EM); feed conversion ratio per egg mass (FCRM); feed conversion ratio per dozen eggs (FCRD); livability (L); yolk weight (YW), albumen weight (AW), eggshell weight (SW); yolk percentage (YP), albumen percentage (AP), eggshell percentage (SP), specific egg weight (SEW); bone calcium percentage (BCa), bone phosphorus percentage (BP), bone ash weight (Bash) and bone ash percentage (PBash). There was no interaction between Ca and avP levels for any of the evaluated parameters, except for SEW. Quail performance was not influenced by the treatments, except for MEP. Bone characteristics were not influenced by the tested dietary Ca and avP levels. However, SW and SP increased and AP decreased as dietary Ca level increased. The dietary supplementation of 38 g Ca/kg and 3.0 g avP/kg may increase marketable egg production and the egg quality of Japanese quails at end of the production cycle.

Keywords:
Coturnix; bone development; dicalcium phosphate; eggshell; bone mineral deposition

INTRODUCTION

The knowledge of calcium (Ca) and available phosphorus (avP) requirements are important for older laying quails because they require more minerals than younger birds for bone and egg mineral deposition (Costa ., 2010Costa CHR, Barreto SLT, Gomes PC, Maia GVC, Lipari CA, Hosoda LH. Teores de cálcio em dietas para codornas japonesas no terço final de postura (45 a 57 semanas de idade). Arquivo Brasileiro de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia 2010b;62(5):1225-1231.b). Dietary Ca supplementation is required during the egg production to improve Ca deposition on eggshell, and also it is an important mineral for quail bone development (Garcia ., 2000Garcia J, Murakami AE, Martins EN, Furlan AC. Exigências Nutricionais de Cálcio e Fósforo para Codornas Japonesas (Coturnix coturnix japonica) em Postura. Acta Scientiarum 2000;22(3):733-739.). Phosphorus is also an important nutrient of quail diets because it is a component of the bone matrix and influences calcium bone deposition (Scott ., 1982Scott ML, Nesheim MC, Young RJ. Nutrition of the chicken. 3rd edition. New York: ML Scott and Associates; 1982.). Those nutrients work together during the absorption, metabolism, and excretion (Salter . 1931Salter WT, Fulton C, Angier F. Studies in calcium and phosphorus metabolism. The Journal of Nutrition 1931;1(4):1-13. ). According to Furtado (1991Furtado MAO. Determinação da biodisponibilidade de fósforo em suplementos de fósforo para aves e suínos [dissertation]. Belo Horizonte (MG): Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais; 1991. ), the best level of phosphorus (P) absorption occurs when dietary Ca level are appropriate according to the adequate Ca: avP ratio. Excessive Ca levels may reduce P absorption by producing an insoluble complex with myo-inositol and trace elements in the intestinal lumen. Therefore, a perfect balance between Ca and avP levels in quail diets are required.

Currently, Ca and avP requirements for Japanese quails can be obtained from published nutritional tables (NRC, 1994; Rostagno et al., 2011) as well as from published studies (Costa ., 2007Costa CHR, Barreto SLT, Moura WCO, Reis RS, Leite CDS, Maia GVC. Níveis de fósforo e cálcio em dietas para codornas japonesas em postura. Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia 2007;36(6):2037-2046.; Vieira ., 2012Vieira DVG, Barreto SLT, Valeriano MH, Jesus LFD, Silva LFF, Mencalha R, et al. Exigências de cálcio e de fósforo disponível para codornas japonesas de 26 a 38 semanas de idade. Revista Brasileira de Saúde e Produção Animal 2012;13(1):204-213.; Aguda ., 2013Aguda AY, Sekoni AA, Omage JJ, Bulus ED. Calcium and available phosphorus requirement of growing Japanese quail birds (Coturnix coturnix japonica) in Nigeria. Advances in Agriculture, Sciences and Engineering 2013;3:1176 - 1183. ). However, these requirements were obtained in studies evaluating quails at the beginning of the egg-production phase and during the peak of egg production (Costa . 2011Costa CHR, Barreto SLT, Gomes PC, Hosoda LH, Lipari CA, Lima HJD. Níveis de fósforo disponível em dietas para codornas japonesas de 45 a 57 semanas de idade. Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia 2011;40(10):2152-2160.). Also, there are few studies about Ca and avP requirements for Japanese quails at end of production phase (Costa 2010Costa CHR, Barreto SLT, Umigi RT, Lima HJD, Araújo MS, Medina P. Balanço de cálcio e fósforo e estudo dos níveis desses minerais em dietas para codornas japonesas (45 a 57 semanas de idade). Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia 2010a;39(8):1748-1755.a; Costa 2010Costa CHR, Barreto SLT, Gomes PC, Maia GVC, Lipari CA, Hosoda LH. Teores de cálcio em dietas para codornas japonesas no terço final de postura (45 a 57 semanas de idade). Arquivo Brasileiro de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia 2010b;62(5):1225-1231.b).

Costa (2010Costa CHR, Barreto SLT, Gomes PC, Maia GVC, Lipari CA, Hosoda LH. Teores de cálcio em dietas para codornas japonesas no terço final de postura (45 a 57 semanas de idade). Arquivo Brasileiro de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia 2010b;62(5):1225-1231.a) determined a requirement of 22 g Ca/kg of egg production in Japanese quails immediately after the peak of egg production. However, those authors recommend a higher dietary Ca level (38 g/kg) for maximum eggshell thickness and eggshell percentage. In another study, Costa (2010Costa CHR, Barreto SLT, Gomes PC, Maia GVC, Lipari CA, Hosoda LH. Teores de cálcio em dietas para codornas japonesas no terço final de postura (45 a 57 semanas de idade). Arquivo Brasileiro de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia 2010b;62(5):1225-1231.b) estimated a dietary Ca level of 35 g/kg for Japanese quails at end of the egg-production cycle. However, because this result was estimated by a linear regression equation, it is not possible to estimate the maximum Ca recommendation.

The Ca and avP requirement data on the current Brazilian nutritional tables for poultry (Rostagno et al., 2011; Costa & Silva, 2009) were not estimated using hens during the final production phase, and therefore do not allow determining these recommendations for this production phase.

Therefore, the goal of this study was to identify a possible interaction between dietary Ca and P levels and to evaluate the effects of these levels on the performance, egg quality and bone characteristics of Japanese quails at end of the egg-production phase.

MATERIAL AND METHODS

The study was carried out at Poultry Farm of the Animal Science Department of the University of Viçosa, state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. The experimental procedures (Process Number 16/2015) complied with the ethical principles for animal research established by the Brazilian Committee for Animal Experimentation and current Brazilian legislation (Brasil, 2008Brasil. Lei 11.794 de 08 de Outubro de 2008. Regulamento o inciso VII do §1º do art. 225 da Constituição Federal, estabelecendo procedimentos para o uso científico de animais. Presidência da República. Casa Civil. Subchefia para Assuntos Jurídicos. Brasília; 2008.).

Two hundred and fifty-six Japanese quails (Coturnix coturnix japonica), with 48 weeks of age and initial body weight of 187 g (± 0.006), were evaluated during an experimental period of 63 days. Birds were distributed according to a completely randomized design in a 2 x 2 factorial arrangement. Treatments consisted of two Ca levels (29 g/kg and 38 g/kg) and two avP levels (1.5 g/kg and 3.0 g/kg), with eight replicates of eight birds each. Each experimental unit consisted of a cage with eight birds housed at a density of 106 cm2/bird. Birds were offered feed and water ad libitum. A 16-h light:8-h dark lighting program was adopted, according to the recommendations of Albino & Barreto (2003Albino LFT, Barreto SLT. Criação de codornas para produção de ovos e carne. Viçosa (MG): Aprenda Fácil; 2003.).

Thermometers were distributed inside the poultry house to measure maximum and minimum environmental temperatures. The maximum and minimum temperatures observed were 26.1 ± 0.7 ºC and 14.0 ± 1.9 ºC, respectively. Air relative humidity was 84.1 ± 2.8% in the morning and 65.7 ± 5.2% in the evening.

A control diet based on corn and soybean meal (193 g/kg crude protein and 2,800 kcal/kg of AMEn) was formulated to meet the quails' requirements according to NRC (1994). Digestible amino acid requirements were supplied using the digestible lysine:amino acid ratios described by Pinto (2003Pinto R, Ferreira AS, Donzele JL. Exigência de lisina para codornas japonesas em postura. Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia 2003;32(5):1182-1189.), Umigi (2008Umigi RT, Barreto SLT, Mesquita Filho RM. Exigência de treonina digestível para codorna japonesa em postura [abstract]. Brasília: Sociedade Brasileira de Zootecnia; 2008. ), Pinheiro (2008Pinheiro SR, Barreto SLT, Albino LFT. Efeito dos níveis de triptofano digestível em dietas para codornas japonesas em postura. Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia 2008;37(6):1012-1016.), and Reis (2011Reis RS, Barreto SLT, Gomes PC. Relationship of methionine plus cystine with lysine in diets for laying Japanese quails. Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia 2011;40:1031-1037.), because the recommendations are expressed on total amino acids in the NRC table (1994). The ingredients and the calculated nutritional composition of the experimental diets are shown in Table 1.

Table 1
Ingredients and calculated nutritional composition of experimental diets (g/kg as fed)

The performance parameters evaluated on this study were feed intake (FI, g/bird/day); egg production (EP, g/kg); marketable egg production (MEP, g/kg), calculated as total number of intact eggs/total number of eggs produced × 100; egg weight (EW, g); egg mass (EM, g/bird/day); feed conversion ratio per egg mass (FCRM, kg of diet/kg of eggs) and per dozen eggs (FCRD, kg of diet/egg dz); livability (L,%), calculated as total number of live birds - total number of dead birds/total number of live birds × 100.

The following egg quality parameters were evaluated: yolk weight (YW, g); albumen weight (AW, g); eggshell weight (EW, g); yolk percentage (YP, %), albumen percentage (AP, %), eggshell percentage (ESP, %), specific egg weight (SEW, g/cm3).

The bone characteristics calcium percentage (BCa, %), phosphorus percentage (BP, %), ash weight (Bashw, g), and ash percentage (PBash, %) were evaluated according to methodology described by Sakomura & Rostagno (2007Sakomura NK, Rostagno HS. Métodos de pesquisa em nutrição de monogástricos. Jaboticabal: Funep; 2007.).

Four eggs per experimental unit were randomly collected on days 19, 20, 21, 40, 41, 42, 61, 62, and 63 of the experimental period (63 days) to determine the weight of egg components. Eggs were individually weighed on 0.001-g precision scale. After weighing, eggs were identified and broken. The yolk of each egg was weighed, and the eggshell was washed and dried to determine its weight. Albumen weight was calculated by difference between egg weight, yolk weight, and eggshell weight.

Specific egg weight was determined by immersion in a series of sodium chloride solutions with increasing density, ranging from 1.055 to 1.09 g/cm3 in 0.005 g/cm3 intervals, according to Archimedes Principle), as described by Thompson & Hamilton (1982Thompson R, Hamilton RMG. Comparison of precision and accuracy of the flotation and Archimedes' methods for measuring the specific gravity of eggs. Poultry Science 1982;60:2388-2394.) and Yannakopoulos & Tserveni-Gousi (1986Yannakopoulos AL, Tserveni-Gousi AS. Quality characteristics of quail eggs. British Poultry Science 1986;27:171-176.).

At the end of the trial, 96 hens were euthanized to collect the left tibia and left femur to estimate tibia Ca (%), tibia P (%), and tibia ash percentage (%) and weight (g). The analyses were performed according to the methodology described by Silva & Queiroz (2002Silva DJ, Queiroz AC. Análise de alimentos (métodos químicos e biológicos). 3rd ed. Viçosa: Imprensa Universitária; 2002. ), at the Animal Nutrition Laboratory of Department of Animal Science, Federal University of Viçosa, Minas Gerais, Brazil.

The main effects of the study were four treatments. The statistical model used was:

Yijk = µ + α i + βj + (αβ)ij + ε ijk, where:

Yijk is the observation k of the ith Ca level within the jth avP level;

µ is the overall mean;

αi is the effect of the ith dietary Ca level;

βj is the effect of the jth avP level;

(αβ)ij is the interaction of the ith Ca level i with the jth avP level;

εijk is the residual random error.

All data were analyzed using the GLM procedure of SAS statistical package (SAS Institute, 2004) and means were compared by the test of Tukey at 5% probability level. When there was no interaction between Ca and avP levels, the treatments were studied independently.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

There was no effect of the different Ca levels (p> 0.05) on hen performance (Table 2). However, the interaction between Ca and avP levels influenced (p< 0.05) SEW, with the best result observed with the combination of 38 g/kg Ca with 3.0 g/kg avP (Table 4). There were no significant differences among treatments when the high dietary Ca level (38 g/kg) was fed in combination with the two avP levels evaluated (1.5 g/kg and 3.0 g/kg).

Table 2
Performance parameters of Japanese quails fed diets with different calcium (Ca) and available phosphorus (avP) levels during 48-57 weeks of age
Table 3
Egg quality traits of Japanese quails fed diets with different calcium (Ca) and available phosphorus (avP) levels during 48-57 weeks of age.
Table 4
Effect of the interaction between dietary calcium (Ca) and available phosphorus (avP) levels on specific egg weight (SEW)

Performance traits were not influenced by the evaluated dietary avP levels, irrespective of Ca levels, except for MEP. The high dietary avP level increased MEP (2.4%) compared to the low dietary avP level. Recent studies have shown avP levels did not influence the egg production of laying quails (Pedroso ., 1999Pedroso AA, Moraes VMB, Ariki J, Kronka SN. Níveis de cálcio e fósforo na ração sobre o desempenho e qualidade dos ovos de codornas japonesas. Ars Veterinaria 1999;15(2):135 -139.; Costa ., 2011Costa CHR, Barreto SLT, Gomes PC, Hosoda LH, Lipari CA, Lima HJD. Níveis de fósforo disponível em dietas para codornas japonesas de 45 a 57 semanas de idade. Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia 2011;40(10):2152-2160.).

Studies have shown FI is not influenced by dietary Ca levels (Pedroso ., 1999Pedroso AA, Moraes VMB, Ariki J, Kronka SN. Níveis de cálcio e fósforo na ração sobre o desempenho e qualidade dos ovos de codornas japonesas. Ars Veterinaria 1999;15(2):135 -139., Barreto ., 2007Barreto SLT, Pereira CA, Umigi RT, Rocha TC, Araujo MS, Silva CS, et al. Determinação da exigência nutricional de cálcio de codornas japonesas na fase inicial do ciclo de produção. Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia 2007;36:68-78.) nor by dietary avP levels (Costa ., 2011Costa CHR, Barreto SLT, Gomes PC, Hosoda LH, Lipari CA, Lima HJD. Níveis de fósforo disponível em dietas para codornas japonesas de 45 a 57 semanas de idade. Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia 2011;40(10):2152-2160.). In the present study, dietary Ca and avP levels did not stimulate nor inhibit FI, and neither induced excess or deficiency of these minerals in the diets. Therefore, the evaluated levels and interactions between these minerals may have influenced the experimental results. Phosphorus metabolism is directly related to dietary Ca levels, and it influences bone eggshell Ca deposition in laying Japanese quails and chickens (Costa ., 2007Costa CHR, Barreto SLT, Moura WCO, Reis RS, Leite CDS, Maia GVC. Níveis de fósforo e cálcio em dietas para codornas japonesas em postura. Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia 2007;36(6):2037-2046.; Almeida ., 2009Almeida Paz ICL, Mendes AA, Balog AA, Komiyama CM, Takahashi SE, Almeida ICL, et al. Calcium effect in bone and egg quality of the hens. Revista Archivos de Zootecnia 2009;58(222):173-183. ; Vieira ., 2012Vieira DVG, Barreto SLT, Valeriano MH, Jesus LFD, Silva LFF, Mencalha R, et al. Exigências de cálcio e de fósforo disponível para codornas japonesas de 26 a 38 semanas de idade. Revista Brasileira de Saúde e Produção Animal 2012;13(1):204-213.).

The evaluated dietary Ca levels influenced (p< 0.05) ESW, ESP, and AP. The best ESW and SP results were obtained when hens were fed diets with 38 g Ca/kg. Eggshell weight increased (p< 0.05) by 4.5% in birds fed the diets with 38 g Ca/kg compared with those fed 29 g Ca/kg. Also, ESP increased (p< 0.05) by 4.1% when the highest Ca level was fed. On the other hand, AP decreased (p< 0.05) by 1.4% when birds were fed diets with 38 g/kg Ca compared with the lower dietary Ca level (29 g/kg).

The influence of dietary Ca levels on ESW, ESP, AP, and SEW supports the dietary requirement of 38 g Ca/kg proposed by Costa (2010Costa CHR, Barreto SLT, Gomes PC, Maia GVC, Lipari CA, Hosoda LH. Teores de cálcio em dietas para codornas japonesas no terço final de postura (45 a 57 semanas de idade). Arquivo Brasileiro de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia 2010b;62(5):1225-1231.b) to improve eggshell thickness and eggshell percentage in Japanese quails. According to Scherer (2004Scherer C. Avaliação dos teores de cálcio para poedeiras semi pesadas durante a fase de pré-postura. Anais da Conferência Apinco de Ciência e Tecnologia Avícola; 2004; Santos, São Paulo. Brasil. p. 98. ), calcium utilization mainly depends on animal species and age. Endogenous calcium is primarily utilized for eggshell formation in laying birds. In addition, daily eggshell calcium deposition represents 10% (2.0 g) of total stored calcium in the body of quails (Miller, 1967Miller BF. Calcium and phosphorus in the diet of coturnix quail. Poultry Science 1967;46(3):686-692.). The present study confirms the importance dietary Ca for egg quality, as demonstrated by the ESW, ESP and SEW results. According to Pedroso . (1999Pedroso AA, Moraes VMB, Ariki J, Kronka SN. Níveis de cálcio e fósforo na ração sobre o desempenho e qualidade dos ovos de codornas japonesas. Ars Veterinaria 1999;15(2):135 -139.), supplying adequate calcium levels during the egg-production phase may allow maintaining eggshell quality throughout the productive life of Japanese quails.

The effect of dietary Ca levels on AP was different from those on ESW and ESP. Albumen percentage decreased when the diet contained 38 g Ca/kg (Table 3). High Ca levels may increase blood alkalinity by interfering with the acid-base balance (Salter ., 1931Salter WT, Fulton C, Angier F. Studies in calcium and phosphorus metabolism. The Journal of Nutrition 1931;1(4):1-13. ). The maintenance of the blood acid-base balance is physiologically and biochemically important, because cell enzyme activity, electrolyte exchange, and the maintenance of body protein structure are affected by small changes in blood pH (Macari , 2002Macari M, Furlan RL, Gonzalez E. Fisiologia aviária aplicada a frangos de corte. Jaboticabal: Unesp; 2002.). The albumen is composed of 13.5% proteins (FAO, 2010FAO. Agribusiness handbook - poultry meat & eggs. 2010 [cited 2015 Abr 21]. Available from: Available from: http://www.fao.org/docrep/012/al175e/al175e.pdf .
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), out of which albumins account for 70% (Ramos, 2008Ramos BFS. Gema de ovo composição em aminas biogénicas e influência da gema na fração volátil de creme de pasteleiro [dissertation]. Porto (POR): Faculdade de Farmácia da Universidade do Porto; 2008.). Serum calcium can be found in the albumen attached to albumin (Vieites , 2004Vieites FM, Moraes GHK, Albino LFT, Rostagno HS, Donzele JL, Vargas Junior JG, et al. Balanço eletrolítico e níveis de proteína bruta sobre o desempenho de pintos de corte de 1 a 21 dias de idade. Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia 2004;33(2):2076-2085.). Increasing blood pH may theoretically reduce the blood ionized calcium pool by increasing the concentration of calcium that is bound to protein (Allen & Somjen, 1983Allen BW, GG. Somjen, The influence of pH on [Ca2+] in circulating blood. Federation Proceedings 1983;42:296.), and therefore, reduce the availability of proteins to synthesize the egg albumen.

Egg quality traits were not influenced by dietary avP levels, except for ESW, which increased by 5.8% in birds fed diets with high dietary avP level compared to the low dietary avP level. Eggshell percentage was not affected by dietary avP levels (p>0.05).

There was no statistical effect of treatments on bone characteristics (p> 0.05), which results are shown in Table 5. The effects of dietary Ca and avP levels on the bone matrix are less evident at the end of the egg-production phase than in the beginning probably due reduced intestinal absorption and bone mobilization of these minerals at this age (Costa , 2010Costa CHR, Barreto SLT, Gomes PC, Maia GVC, Lipari CA, Hosoda LH. Teores de cálcio em dietas para codornas japonesas no terço final de postura (45 a 57 semanas de idade). Arquivo Brasileiro de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia 2010b;62(5):1225-1231.b). Dietary avP levels did not influence (p> 0.05) bone characteristics.

Table 5
Bone characteristics of Japanese quails fed diets with different calcium (Ca) and available phosphorus (avP) levels during 48-57 weeks of age

Some studies have shown that higher eggshell weight and specific egg weight positively influence total intact egg production (Costa , 2010Costa CHR, Barreto SLT, Umigi RT, Lima HJD, Araújo MS, Medina P. Balanço de cálcio e fósforo e estudo dos níveis desses minerais em dietas para codornas japonesas (45 a 57 semanas de idade). Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia 2010a;39(8):1748-1755.a; Costa , 2011Costa CHR, Barreto SLT, Gomes PC, Hosoda LH, Lipari CA, Lima HJD. Níveis de fósforo disponível em dietas para codornas japonesas de 45 a 57 semanas de idade. Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia 2011;40(10):2152-2160.; Vieira , 2012Vieira DVG, Barreto SLT, Valeriano MH, Jesus LFD, Silva LFF, Mencalha R, et al. Exigências de cálcio e de fósforo disponível para codornas japonesas de 26 a 38 semanas de idade. Revista Brasileira de Saúde e Produção Animal 2012;13(1):204-213.). MEP is the ratio between total number of intact eggs and total egg production; therefore, the higher total intact egg production, the higher the MEP.

The results of the present study indicate that Japanese quails require higher Ca levels than laying chickens at end of production phase. Previous studies have also shown that Japanese quails need higher Ca levels at end of the egg-production phase because quails present faster deterioration of performance and egg quality compared with chickens (Almeida Paz 2009Almeida Paz ICL, Mendes AA, Balog AA, Komiyama CM, Takahashi SE, Almeida ICL, et al. Calcium effect in bone and egg quality of the hens. Revista Archivos de Zootecnia 2009;58(222):173-183. ; Pedroso 1999Pedroso AA, Moraes VMB, Ariki J, Kronka SN. Níveis de cálcio e fósforo na ração sobre o desempenho e qualidade dos ovos de codornas japonesas. Ars Veterinaria 1999;15(2):135 -139.). Costa (2010Costa CHR, Barreto SLT, Gomes PC, Maia GVC, Lipari CA, Hosoda LH. Teores de cálcio em dietas para codornas japonesas no terço final de postura (45 a 57 semanas de idade). Arquivo Brasileiro de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia 2010b;62(5):1225-1231.b) reported that the dietary level of 35 g Ca/kg promoted good performance and egg quality in Japanese quails at the end of the egg-production phase.

The dietary avP level of 3.0 g/kg improved marketable egg production and eggshell weight. Additionally, the best egg quality results were obtained with the combination of high dietary Ca level with high dietary avP. This indicates that when dietary avP levels are increased, Ca levels must be proportionally increased in order to maintain good performance and egg quality.

CONCLUSIONS

The dietary available phosphorus level of 3.0g/kg increases marketable egg production, and high dietary calcium and available phosphorus levels improve the egg quality of Japanese quails at end of the egg-production phase.

The supplementation of 38 g Ca/kg (998 mg Ca/bird/day) and 3.0 g avP/kg (78 mg avP/bird/day) to the diet of Japanese quails at the end of the egg-production phase is recommended.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

We thank the Universidade Federal de Viçosa (UFV) for the use of facilities and Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq, Brazil) for first author's grant.

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Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    Jul-Sep 2016

History

  • Received
    Apr 2015
  • Accepted
    May 2015
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