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Pakistan Journal of Nutrition
Year: 2020  |  Volume: 19  |  Issue: 2  |  Page No.: 74 - 79

Effect of Early Post-Hatch Feeding on Yolk Sac Disappearance, Feed Intake and Weight of Newly Hatched Mule Ducklings in a Tropical Environment

Melissa A. Williams, Cicero H.O. Lallo and Donald Palmer    

Abstract: Background and Objective: Prolonged periods without access to feed can negatively impact production and the utilization rate of the absorbed yolk sac in poultry. This study investigated the effect of early post-hatch feeding on yolk sac disappearance, feed intake and live weight change of newly-hatched mule ducklings. Materials and Methods: A total of 120 mule ducklings were collected and randomly divided into four treatment groups (T) with 30 ducklings per treatment and varying times for post-hatch feeding: T1 (3 h), T2 (24 h), T3 (36 h) and T4 (48 h). Data were collected for 5 days. On day 6, 6 ducklings per treatment were randomly selected, weighed, euthanized and the residual yolk sac was excised and weighed. The rate of residual yolk sac disappearance was then calculated. Results: The overall feeding time did not influence the weight of the residual yolk sac (p>0.05) over the five day period. However, on Days 2 and 4 the feeding times did significantly affect the yolk sac as a percentage of body weight (p = 0.01, p = 0.00; respectively). On Days 2 and 5, ducklings given early post-hatch feeding showed a significant change in total body weight relative to control ducklings (p = 0.006 and p = 0.013, respectively). On Days 1 and 2, all treatments affected feed intake (p = 0.000). The yolk sac completely disappeared within 4.46 days of hatching. Conclusion: The residual yolk sac weight in mule ducklings decreased with age and independently of post-hatch feeding time. Early post-hatch feeding time (between 3 and 24 h post-hatch) was associated with the highest increase in body weight, suggesting that this feeding practice could enhance productivity in these ducks.

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