Impact of selection for residual feed intake on production traits and behavior of mule ducks

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid

Abstract

A divergent selection experiment of Muscovy sires based on the residual feed intake (RFI) of their male mule progeny was initiated in 2009. Using electronic feeders, the aim of this study was to establish whether 3 generations of selection for RFI had an impact on feeding behavior traits and general behavior, and to examine its effect on liver and meat quality. Eighty mule ducks, issued from 8 Muscovy drakes per line with extreme RFI, were tested in a pen equipped with 4 electronic feeders. Feeding behaviors were recorded from 3 to 7 wk after hatching under ad libitum feeding conditions. Then animals were prepared for overfeeding with a 3-week period of restricted feeding, and overfed during 12 d before slaughter. The RFI was significantly lower in the low RFI line than in the high RFI line (−5.4 g/d, P = 0.0005) and daily feed intake was reduced both over the entire test period (−5 g/d, P = 0.049) and on a weekly basis (P = 0.006). Weekly and total feed conversion ratios were also significantly lower (−0.08, P = 0.03 and −0.06, P = 0.01, respectively). Low RFI ducks had more frequent meals, spent as much time eating as high RFI ducks, and their feeding rate was lower when analyzed at the wk level only. Additionally no significant correlation between feed efficiency and feeding behavior traits was evidenced, indicating only limited relationships between RFI and feeding patterns. Some differences in behavioral responses to stressors (open field test combined with a test measuring the response to human presence) suggested that a lower RFI is associated with less fearfulness. Selection for RFI had no effect on liver weight and quality and a slightly deleterious impact on meat quality (decreased drip loss and L*). Finally, low RFI animals had higher body weights after restricted feeding from wk 10 to wk 12 and after overfeeding than high RFI ducks. This suggests that selection for reduced RFI until 7 wk of age increases the feed efficiency up to slaughter.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles