Influence of environmental temperature and electrolyte balance on the performance of quails (Coturnix Coturnix Coturnix)
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High environmental temperatures have a negative effect on the production efficiency of poultry reared in hot climates. This study evaluated the efficiency of electrolyte supplementation under high environmental temperature conditions by manipulating water and feed electrolyte balance (EB) on the survival and performance of European quails. In experiment 1, a completely randomized experimental design was applied in a 4 x 2 factorial arrangement. Treatments consisted in four feed EB values (0, 120, 240, 360 mEq/kg), and two environmental temperatures (25 and 34 ºC). Feed electrolyte balance was manipulated by the addition of sodium bicarbonate and ammonium chloride. In experiment 2, birds were randomly distributed according to a 5 x 2 factorial arrangement. Treatments consisted in five BE values in the drinking water (0, 30, 60, 90, 120 mEq/L) and two environmental temperatures (25 and 34 °C). Only sodium bicarbonate was added to the water to obtain the different BE values. The experiments were carried out simultaneously in environmental chambers at constant temperatures with 20- to 37-d-old quails. Most evaluated parameters were influenced by temperature in both experiments. In experiment 1, EB affected water intake and intestinal length. In experiment 2, EB values influenced (p < 0.05) water intake and heart and liver relative weights. Electrolyte balance values of 120 mEq/kg of feed and of 30 mEq/L of drinking water are recommended to increase water intake of grower European quails reared under hot temperature.