Effect of Feeding Time on Laying and Reproductive Performance of Pharaoh Quail (Coturnix coturnix Pharaoh) Housed in Different Cage Systems

  • Received : 2005.02.22
  • Accepted : 2005.07.12
  • Published : 2006.01.01


A total of 120 male and 240 female quail (Coturnix coturnix Pharaoh) were used to determine the effect of feeding time on laying and reproductive performance of Pharaoh quail. They were fed ad libitum between 09:00 to 17:00 or full day, daily. Each female-male pair was housed in multiple-bird cages and colony cages. Initial and final body weight, quail-day egg production, feed consumption per egg and mortality were measured to determine laying performance of breeders. A total of 960 eggs were used to determine reproductive performance of quail in each treatment group. Eggs were incubated in a commercial setter and hatcher in standard conditions. Embryonic mortality, apparent fertility, hatchability of total and fertile eggs were calculated to determine the reproductive performance. Results indicated that feeding between 09:00 to 17:00 h reduced final body weight and egg production (p<0.001, p<0.001). Whereas, limited time of feeding improved hatchability of total (p<0.001) and fertile eggs (p<0.001) and reduced embryonic mortality (p<0.001) when compared with the effects of feeding full day. It was found that there were no significant differences for the egg production of quail housed in different cage systems. Quail caged in multiple-bird cages consumed less feed (p<0.01) compared to quail housed in colony cages. There were significant differences for the mortality (p<0.05), hatchability of total (p<0.001) and fertile eggs (p<0.001), and embryonic mortality (p<0.001) during the incubation due to main effect of cage systems. There were significant cage $systems{\times}feeding$ time interactions for hatchability of total and fertile eggs and embryonic mortality (p<0.001). As a conclusion; feeding from 09:00 to 17:00 reduced laying performance of quail and improved the reproductive traits compared to full day feeding of quail breeders. But, further investigations are needed to determine the optimum length of feeding time and egg production of breeders in quail fed limited time must be evaluated in comparison with its beneficial or detrimental effects.


  1. Brake, J. 1985. Relationship of egg weight, specific gravity, and shell weight to time of oviposition and feeding in broiler breeders. Poult. Sci. 64:2037-2040
  2. Choi, J. H., H. Namkung and I. K. Paik. 2004. Feed consumption pattern of laying hens in relation to time of oviposition. Asian-Aust. J. Anim. Sci. 17:371-373
  3. Farmer, M., D. A. Roland and M. K. Eckman. 1983. Calcium metabolism in broiler breeder hens. 2. The influence of the time of feeding on calcium status of the digestive system and egg shell quality in broiler breeders. Poult. Sci. 62:465-471
  4. Gowe, R. S, A. S. Johnson, R. D. Crawford, J. H. Downs, A. T. Hill, W. F. Mountain and J. H. Strain. 1969. Restricted versus full feeding during the growing period for egg production stock. Br. Poult. Sci. 1:27-56
  5. Hassan, S. M., M. E. Mady, A. L. Cartwright, H. M. Sabri and M. S. Mobarak. 2003. Effect of feeding time on the reproductive performance of Japanese Quail (Coturnix coturnix Japonica). Poult. Sci. 82:1188-1192
  6. Lewis, P. D. and G. C. Perry. 1988. Effect of a single or double daily allocation of food on shell weight and oviposition time of broiler breeder hens. Proceedings of the Fourth International Poultry Breeders Conference, The West of Scotland College, pp. 72-78
  7. Mc Daniel, G. R., J. Brake and M. K. Eckman. 1981. Factors affecting broiler breeder performance. 4. The Interreltionship of some reproductive traits. Poult. Sci. 58:10-13
  8. Upp., C.W. 1928. Preferential mating of fowls. Poult. Sci. 7:225-232
  9. Wilson, H. R. and I. J. Keeling. 1991. Effect of time of feeding on oviposition time and production parameters in broiler breeders. Poult. Sci. 70:254-259
  10. Brake, J. 1988. Relationship of time of feeding and strain to egg shell quality and hatchability in broiler breeders. Poult. Sci. 67:538-543
  11. Daniel, M. and D. Balnave. 1981. Responses of cross-bred layers fed at specific meal times. Br. Poult. Sci. 22:347-354
  12. Satterlee, D. G., A. C. Goodling and D. C. Huffman. 1985. An economic analysis of performance data from toe-clipped laying hens housed at variable stocking densities. Poult. Sci. 64:1424-1429
  13. Snedecor, G. W. and W. C. Cochran. 1989. Statistical Methods. 8th edn. Iowa State University Press, Ames, IA, USA
  14. Bootwalla, S. M., H. R. Wilson and R. H. Harms. 1983. Performance of broiler breeders on different systems. Poult. Sci. 62:2321-2323
  15. Samara, M. H., K. R. Robbins and M. O. Smith. 1996. Interaction of feeding time of calcium intake with emphasis on broiler breeders. World's Poult. Sci. J. 40:225-260
  16. Balnave, D. 1977. The effect of energy restriction on laying hens given either a single morning or single evening meal. Br. Poult. Sci. 18:115-119
  17. Harms, R. H. 1991. The influence of changing time of feeding on performance of broiler breeder hens. Poult. Sci. 70:1665-1698
  18. SPSS$^\circedR$ 10.00 Computer Software. 1999. SPSS Inc. Headquarters, 233 s.,Wacker Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60606, USA
  19. Sabine, G., G. Henrich and H. L. Marks. 1995. Effects of feed restriction on growth and reproduction in randombred and selected lines of Japanese quail. Poult. Sci. 74:402-406
  20. Duncan, J. H. and B. O. Hughes. 1975. Feeding activity and egg formation in hens laid continuously. Br. Poult. Sci. 65:345-351
  21. Anderson, K. E. and A. W. Adams. 1994. Effects of cage versus floor rearing environments and cage floor mesh size on bone strength, fearfulness, and production of single comb White Leghorn hens. Poult. Sci. 73:1233-1240
  22. Tanabe, Y. and T. Nakamura. 1980. Endocrine mechanism of ovulation in chickens (Gallus domesticus), quail (Coturnix coturnix japonica), and ducks (Anas plalyrhynhos domestica). pp. 179-188 in Biological Rhythms in Birds: Neural and Endocrine Aspects. (Ed. Y. Tanabe, K. Tamaka and T. Ookawa) Japan Sci. Soc. Press, Tokyo
  23. Lee, K. 1981. Performance of White Leghorn pullets subjected to restricted feeding during growing period. Poult. Sci. 60:1682
  24. Brake, J. and E. D. Peebles. 1986. Effects of strain and time of feeding on reproductive performance and shell quality of broiler breeders. Poult. Sci. 65(Supp. 1)156
  25. North, M. O. and D. D. Bell. 1990. Commercial Chicken Production Manual. Chapman & Hall: New York, London. pp. 472-473

Cited by

  1. Feeding time under performance and eggs quality of quails in production vol.19, pp.1, 2018,