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Poult Sci. 1991 Dec;70(12):2484-93.

Effect of feeding palmitic, oleic, and linoleic acids to Japanese quail hens (Coturnix coturnix japonica). 1. Reproductive performance and tissue fatty acids.

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Department of Animal Science, Macdonald College of McGill University, Ste. Anne de Bellevue, Quebec, Canada.


A study was conducted to evaluate the effects of diets containing 3% of either palmitic acid (Diet PA), oleic acid (Diet OA), or linoleic acid (Diet LA) on reproductive performance, fatty acid composition of egg yolk, plasma, and liver, and total plasma phosphorus of Japanese quail. Each diet was fed to 20 individually caged hens from 5 wk of age. A 24-wk production period started at 8 wk of age. Fertile eggs for incubation were obtained by placing at random a male in the cage with the female for 15 to 20 min twice per week. The males were kept in separate individual cages and fed a turkey grower diet throughout. Feed consumption, egg production, egg output, and the number of chicks per hen were higher (P less than .05) in birds fed Diet PA than in those fed Diet OA or Diet LA. Hatchability was not different (P greater than .05) between Diet PA and Diet OA, but they were higher (P less than .05) than that of Diet LA. Quail weight at hatch from birds fed Diet LA was heavier (P less than .05) than those from Diet OA, but not different (P greater than .05) from those fed Diet PA. Total plasma phosphorus concentration was higher (P less than .05) in birds fed Diet PA than in those fed Diet LA. High levels of oleic and linoleic acids were found in egg yolk, plasma, and liver lipids from birds fed Diet OA and Diet LA, respectively. Feeding Diet PA resulted in elevated levels of palmitoleic acid in all three tissues. The highest overall reproductive performance on Diet PA suggests that palmitic acid has some physiological role in reproduction. The sustained near-maximal levels of egg production and fertility achieved in this trial indicate the superiority of the mating procedure, which would also permit testing the response of male and female birds while minimizing injuries incurred by the females.

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