Michele de Oliveira Mendonça (@profa.michelemendonca), Animal Scientist, and Professor at the Southeast Federal Institute of Minas Gerais shares information on the factors that affect quail egg production.
Many agribusiness entrepreneurs, with a vision to market diversity, have invested in the production of quail eggs. This is because this nutritional option has gained more space in food retail, influenced by the increase of consumer demand and its availability in the food services outside the home. Quail eggs have a high protein content, in addition to vitamin B1 and B2, as well as nutrients such as iron, phosphorus, and calcium, making them an increasingly common alternative among healthy eaters. Quails are productive animals, easy to handle and fast growth, all of which facilitates their production on the farm.
However, to produce high-quality quail eggs and serve the market, merely following handling techniques is not enough. It is just as essential to offer quality food and care for the biosecurity of their environment. Michele de Oliveira Mendonça (@profa.michelemendonca), Animal Scientist, and Professor at the Southeast Federal Institute of Minas Gerais shares information on the factors that affect quail egg production on ICC Brazil’s blog. Check it out!
According to Mendonça, several factors influence the quality of eggs produced by quails. The most notable among them are:
- Feed management (frequency and amount of feed provided);
- Breeding environment temperature;
- Water quality and quantity;
- Housing density;
- Health status of poultry;
- Frequency and procedure of egg collection;
- Conservation state and the slope of cages or other housing environments.
When discussing nutritional management and feed supply, Professor Mendonça notes that producers should pay special attention to vitamins E, B12, biotin, choline, pantothenic acid, and riboflavin in their diets, as this composition is the key to proper nutrition and the hatching rate of quails.
She explains that it is essential to note that feed for laying hens should never be provided for quails as there are many differences in nutrition among commercial poultry. The variations in nutritional requirements are:
- Bodyweight and feed consumption capacity: quails in the laying phase weigh between 170 and 185g and have a consumption capacity of 23 to 28g of feed/animal/day, while laying hens can have a bodyweight of 1.5 to 2kg and feed consumption between 90 to 115 g/animal/day, depending on the breed.
- Egg size: the quail egg is approximately one-fifth of the size of the chicken egg, varying from 8 to 13g (average 11g), representing 8 to 10% of its body weight, while for chicken eggs this proportion is 3%.
Environment and Quality of Quail Eggs
Professor Mendonça also explains that the set of biological and physical elements in the environment has a direct effect on the performance of quails. One of the most influential factors for the quality of eggs is the thermal environment, as it is directly associated with feed consumption and, consequently, with the quantity and quality of the laying.
Mendonça tells us that poultry subjected to high temperatures have lower feed consumption and prostration behavior (for example, they open their wings in an attempt to dissipate heat). When associated with high relative humidity, the problem is aggravated, which can lead poultry to die.
For this reason, the main guidelines for the management of quails are related to factors that promote welfare and, as a consequence, ensure optimization of the eggs and animal performance. They include:
Material ilustrado pautado em dados de experimentos científicos (in vivo), produzido por doutores na área de nutrição animal.
- Supplying feed with nutritional quality in an amount compatible with the age of the quails;
- Checking the quality and quantity of the water supplied periodically as water consumption directly impacts feed consumption and, thus, animal performance;
- Optimizing the thermal environment by adjusting the temperature and relative humidity of the air for each phase of the quail’s life;
- Observing the number of poultry per cage and the state of conservation of them to avoid causing any injury or discomfort to the poultry;
- Not creating noise that may distress the quails, especially during the beginning of the day when the formation of the eggshells is finalized.
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Prof. Michele de Oliveira Mendonça, Animal Scientist and Professor at Instituto Federal Sudeste de Minas Gerais (Rio Pomba Campus). Instagram: @profa.michelemendonca
Posted in 12 May of 2020