Wet feed and cold water as heat stress modulators in growing Muscovy ducklings

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In an attempt to alleviate the deleterious effects of high summer temperatures, the present study investigated the effects of wet feed and cold water on the growth performance, carcass and meat quality, leg problems, physiological responses, and blood parameters of growing Muscovy ducklings. A total of 180 4-week-old ducklings was randomly divided into 6 experimental groups in a 3 × 2 factorial design that included 3 feed systems (AD: ad libitum dry; DW: diurnal wet; and AW: ad libitum wet) and 2 systems of water (TW: tap water; and CW: cold water). Access to wet feed and cold water affected the growth performance, dressed carcass, gizzard, meat quality (tenderness, juiciness, and susceptibility), tonic immobility, body temperature, and blood parameters [albumin: globulin (A: G) ratio and levels of glucose, alanine transferase (ALT), total antioxidant capacity (T-AOC), and malondialdehyde (MDA)] of the ducklings but had no significant effect on plumage condition, shank length, keel bone length, leg problems, or breast blisters. The body weight (BW) of the DW group was 1.97 and 3.12% greater than that of the AD and AW groups, respectively, and the BWG of the DW group was 6.91 and 10.72% greater than that of the AD and AW groups, respectively. Therefore, providing access to wet feed and cold water is highly recommended when raising Muscovy ducks in open houses under high-temperature conditions.

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