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https://doi.org/10.5713/ab.21.0060    [Accepted] Published online August 25, 2021.
Dietary crude protein levels during growth phase affects reproductive characteristics but not reproductive efficiency of adult male Japanese quails
Pâmela Lacombe Retes1  , Danusa Gebin das Neves2  , Laryssa Fernanda Bernardes2  , Victoria Veiga Alves1  , Natália de Castro Gonçalves2  , Diego de Rezende Lima2  , Renata Ribeiro Alvarenga2  , Barbara Azevedo Pereira2  , Alireza Seidavi3  , Marcio Gilberto Zangeronimo1,* 
1Department of Veterinary Medicine, Federal University of Lavras, Lavras, 37200 Brazil
2Department of Animal Science, Federal University of Lavras, Lavras, 37200, Brazil
3Department of Animal Science, Rasht Branch, Islamic Azad University, Rasht, 4147654919, Iran
Correspondence:  Marcio Gilberto Zangeronimo, Tel: +55-35-3829-1471, Fax: +55-35-3829-1148, Email: zangeronimo@dmv.ufla.br
Received: 8 February 2021   • Revised: 9 April 2021   • Accepted: 10 August 2021
Abstract
Objective
The objective was to evaluate the influence of different dietary crude protein (CP) levels during the growth phase on reproductive characteristics and reproductive efficiency as well as the body development of adult male Japanese quail.
Methods
Three hundred one-day-old male quails were distributed into five treatments with diets containing different CP levels (18%, 20%, 22%, 24%, and 26%) in a completely randomized design, with six replicates of ten birds each. The CP diets were applied only during the growth phase (1 to 35 days). At 36 days of age, the birds were transferred to 30 laying cages with three males and nine females each, and all birds received the same diet formulated to meet production-phase requirements until 96 days of age.
Results
The growth rate of the birds increased linearly (P<0.01) with increasing dietary CP, but the age of maximum growth decreased (P<0.05). At growth maturity, all birds had the same body weight (P>0.05). At 35 days of age, higher weight gain was obtained (P<0.05) with diets containing 22% CP or higher. No effects on feed conversion were observed in this phase. The increase in dietary CP enhanced (P<0.01) nitrogen intake and nitrogen excretion but did not affect (P>0.05) nitrogen retention. Testis size, seminiferous tubular area, number of spermatogonia, and germinal epithelial height at 35 days of age increased linearly (P<0.05) with dietary CP, while the number of Leydig cells decreased (P<0.01). The Sertoli cell number at 60 days of age increased linearly (P<0.01) with dietary CP. Dietary CP levels did not affect cloacal gland size, foam weight, foam protein concentration, semen volume, or flock fertility at 90 days of age.

Conclusion

Dietary CP concentration affected body and testicular development in male Japanese quails but did not affect reproductive efficiency.
Keywords: Quail Breeding; Growth Curve; Testicular Development; Fertility; Semen Quality
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