Whole-grain cereal voluntary intake and preference in Japanese quail (Coturnix coturnix japonica)
Japanese quail (Coturnix coturnix japonica) usually fed on ground or pelleted balanced feeds, while whole grains are supplied in alternative systems. Voluntary intake and preference of four whole-grain cereals (durum wheat, bread wheat, triticale and barley) were assessed in Japanese quails. Two experiments were performed: (i) a trial with five batches of six randomly selected quails (three males, three females) allocated to each treatment consisting of one cereal or a balanced feed (control) in the voluntary intake experiment; and (ii) a trial with four bird batches receiving simultaneously the four cereals in the preference experiment. Three repetitions of each trial were performed. When feedstuffs were provided as a sole feed, voluntary feed intake differed, being the highest in quails fed the balanced feed (20.0 g/d), intermediate for durum wheat (15.0 g/d), bread wheat (15.8 g/d) or triticale (15.6 g/d), and the lowest for barley (12.1 g/d). Voluntary intake did not differ between sexes. Positive correlations existed between voluntary feed intake and live weight of quails, being the highest and very strong for the balanced feed, moderate for durum and bread wheat and barley, and weak for triticale. The preference trial showed that quails preferred durum wheat (7.1 g/d), triticale (4.0 g/d), bread wheat (3.0 g/d) and barley (0.3 g/d) in descending order, independently of sex. Positive correlations existed between daily feed intake and live weight of birds for durum and bread wheat. Strong positive correlation existed between bird live weight and total intake when the four cereals were available simultaneously. Differences in voluntary intake and preference among whole-grain cereals should be take into account when used to feed quails.
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