Performance and egg quality of Japanese quails submitted to cyclic heat stress
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Aiming at evaluating the influence of cyclic temperatures on the performance and egg quality of Japanese quails an experiment was carried out with 480 birds after egg production peak. Birds were housed in a bioclimatic chamber with automatic temperature control that contained two rooms, one maintained at thermoneutral temperature (21 ºC) and the other adjusted for the tested cyclic temperatures (24, 27, 30, 33 and 36 ºC at a time). Each room had a battery of five floors and ten cages, with a capacity of 24 birds per cage, totaling 240 birds per battery. Birds were fed iso-nutritious and iso-caloric diets. Data obtained under the tested cyclic temperatures were compared with those obtained under thermoneutral temperature. At the end of each experimental period (14 days) performance and egg quality parameters were evaluated. A completely randomized experimental design with two treatments (thermoneutral temperature and tested temperature) and ten replicates of 24 birds each. Cyclic increases of 27 ºC and higher in environmental temperature negatively affected bird performance, with reduced feed intake and consequent reductions in egg weight and mass. A cyclic increase of the environmental temperature to 36 ºC reduced the percentage of saleable eggs and egg production.
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