Floor Space for Brooding Bobwhite Quail1

Floor Space for Brooding Bobwhite Quail1

Floor Space for Brooding Bobwhite Quail1 H. R. WILSON, C. R. DOUGLAS, W. G. NESBETH, and E. R. MILLER 2 Department of Poultry Science, Florida Agricul...

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Floor Space for Brooding Bobwhite Quail1 H. R. WILSON, C. R. DOUGLAS, W. G. NESBETH, and E. R. MILLER 2 Department of Poultry Science, Florida Agricultural Experiment Gainesville, Florida 32611

Station,

ABSTRACT Four experiments were conducted to determine the effects of various floor space allocations for quail brooded in litter-floor pens from hatch to five weeks of age. Pens contained 2 7.432 m floor space had a concrete floor with peanut hull litter and a 2-bulb infra-red brooder. Floor space allocations were 929, 464, 232, and 116 cm 2 per bird in Experiments 1 and 2; 372, 232, 169, and 133 cm2 per bird in Experiment 3; and 372, 232, and 169 cm 2 per bird in Experiment 4. Significant differences in five week body weights were found among birds from various space allocations in Experiments 1 and 2 but not in Experiments 3 and 4. These differences, however, were not consistent between experiments. Mortality was increased by the low space treatments (232 cm 2 or less). Higher space allocations tended to result in lower feed consumption and better feed conversion, but the effect was statistically significant in only one case. A space allocation of 372 cm 2 or more per bird is recommended. INTRODUCTION 2

Floor space allocations of 155 and 310 cm per bird have been recommended by Walker (1971) and Wilson et al. (1975a), respectively, for the first five weeks of the brooding period for Bobwhite quail. However, supporting data were not presented and there is a lack of information available in the literature. The following studies were conducted to determine the effects of various floor space allocations for brooding quail in litter-floor pens. EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURES

Four experiments of five weeks duration each were conducted using 1-day-old Bobwhite

1 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station Journal Series No. 1000. 2 Ralston Purina Co., St. Louis, MO 63188.

quail chicks which were debeaked according to the recommendation of Wilson et al. (1975b) prior to being placed on experiment. All experiments were conducted in a brooder house with metal roof and walls and with large windows for natural ventilation. All pens had concrete floors with peanut hull litter, contained 7.432 m2 floor space, and were separated by plywood and wire partitions. A metal brooding ring approximately 2 m diameter and a 2-bulb infrared brooder were used in each pen. Quartsized quail water founts and metal feeding lids were used during the first week of brooding at a ratio of approximately two founts and one feeder lid per 80 chicks in Experiments 1 and 2. This ratio proved to be too crowded and was reduced to approximately one fount per 70 chicks and 1 feeder lid per 100 chicks in Experiments 3 and 4. Founts and lids were gradually replaced from 6 to 11 days of brooding with larger jar chick founts (3.8 1.) and

TABLE l.—Body weight, mortality, and feed consumption of Bobwhite chicks as affected by floor space (Experiment 1 and 2) 5 wk body wt(g)

Mortality (%)

G feed/bird/day

Feed/body wt

Floor space (cm 2 /bird)

Exp 1

Exp 2

Exp 1

Exp 2

Exp 1

Exp 2

Exp 1

Exp 2

929 464 232 116

82.9 C 87.8a 85.3° 87.2ab

78.5 a 74.4 a b 72.5b 71.9b

17.1° 14.0 b 17.9 b 29.9a

5.8<" 7.7 C 15.0b 43.6a

5.47a 5.62a 6.09a 5.83a

4.66 a 4.62 a 4.61a

2.31 a 2.24a 2.50 a 2.34a

2.08 b 2.17a 2.23a

a,b,c;Means within a column not having common superscripts are significantly different (P<.05). 1978 Poultry Sci 57:1499-1502

1499

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(Received for publication March 1, 1978)

WILSON ET AL.

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All data were subjected to analysis of variance procedures and significant differences among treatments were established using Duncan's multiple range test.

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RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

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Significant differences in five week body weights were found among birds from various space allocations in Experiments 1 and 2 (Table 1); however, the effects of space were not consistent between experiments. Mortality was significantly increased by the high density treatment (116 cm 2 /bird) in Experiments 1 and 2 and by the 232 cm 2 /bird treatment in Experiment 2. Much of the increased mortality was due to piling, which occurred at various times during the experiments, but in some pens very severely during the first and second day of the study, especially during Experiment 1 (Table 3). Mortality was increased during the fourth and fifth week in Experiment 2. Feed consumption per bird per day did not differ significantly among treatments. Feed required per unit of body weight increased with increased bird density in Experiment 2; a similar, but less consistent, trend was present in Experiment 1.

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cylindrical feeders (11.4 kg capactity) to furnish equivalent fountain and feeder space per chick in each treatment. Brooding rings were removed at four to seven days depending upon ambient temperature and other environmental factors. Starting dates were September 6, August 1, June 18, and August 13, respectively, for Experiments 1, 2, 3, and 4. All chicks were fed a 27.4% protein starter diet (Wilson etal, 1975a). Floor space allocations in Experiments 1 and 2 were 929, 464, 232, and 116 cm 2 per bird. Allocations were 372, 232, 169, and 133 cm 2 per bird in Experiment 3 and 372, 232, and 169 cm 2 per bird in Experiment 4. Floor space allocations of 929, 464, 372, 232, 169, 133, and 116 cm 2 resulted in 80, 160, 200, 320, 440, 560, and 640 birds per pen, respectively. Three replicate pens per treatment were used in Experiments 1, 2, and 3 while four pens per treatment were used in Experiment 4. Body weight was determined at five weeks of age in all experiments and at one week of age in Experiments 3 and 4. Mortality and feed consumption were measured for the five week period. Feed consumption was measured weekly in Experiment 4 to establish a consumption curve for young quail.

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FIG. 1. Weekly feed consumption of Bobwhite chicks as affected by floor space (Experiment 4.).

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Feed consumption data are not presented for the 116 cm 2 floor space treatment due to the high mortality in that treatment. In Experiments 3 and 4 intermediate floor space allocations or bird densities were tested in an effort to more accurately determine the space at which a detrimental effect would occur due to crowding. Floor space ranged from 372 to 133 cm 2 per bird. There were no significant differences among treatments for body weight at either one or five weeks of age, mortality, feed consumed per bird per day, or feed required per unit of body weight (Table 2). There was a trend, however, for the birds in the 372 cm 2 floor space treatment to have lower mortality, lower feed consumption, and better feed efficiency. Mortality in Experiment 3 tended to be higher during the latter part of the study but was distributed more evenly in Experiment 4 (Table 3). Weekly feed consumption increased in a linear manner from two through five weeks of age in all treatments with essentially no differences between treatments (Fig. 1). Feed consumption increased from approximately 3.25 g/

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REFERENCES Walker, W. S., 1971. Raising Bobwhite quail for commerical use. Clemson Univ. Ext. Circ. 514. Wilson, H. R., C. R. Douglas, and L. W. Kalch, 1975a. Bobwhite quail production. Florida Coop. Ext. Serv. Poultry Sci. Information Ser. 75—1. Wilson, H. R., M. G. Miller, and C. R. Douglas, 1975b. Debeaking method for Bobwhite quail. Poultry Sci. 54:1616-1619.

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bird/day during the first week to approximately 7.75 g/bird/day during the fifth week. The results from these experiments indicate that providing less than 372 cm 2 /bird of floor space during the first five weeks of brooding would result in decreased performance. Quail chicks normally appear to be very sensitive to environment stresses during the brooding period, thus overcrowding during this period would be expected to sharply reduce the managerial margin of safety even