Pumice as an instrument for beak blunting in quail
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This study was conducted to examine the effects of using pumice as a beak abrasion object for quail of different plumage colours. Six hundred one-day old female and male chicks with an initial average live weight of 9.19 +/- 0.21 were used as the experimental subjects. The chicks were first divided into two groups on the basis of plumage colour (300 lightcoloured (L) chicks and 300 dark-coloured (D) chicks), and then each colour group was randomly divided into two subgroups, one of which was kept in cages containing pumice (P+) and the other in cages without pumice (P-), for a total of 6 weeks. Results showed that, in terms of data on both sexes combined, pumice did not affect the live weight of quail. However, female quail in the LP+ and DP+ groups were found to have higher live weights compared to females in the LP-and DP-groups, and these differences were large and statistically significant (P< 0.01). Beak lengths were also found to be significantly shorter in all P+ groups (P< 0.01). This indicates that pumice had the effect of reducing the length of the beaks. In comparisons involving whole flocks (both sexes), beak width was found to be reduced in the LP+ group (P< 0.01). It also was also reduced among the males of the LP+ and DP+ groups (P< 0.01), but no difference was detected in the female groups. Feather pecking scores and cannibalistic injuries were lower in all P+ groups (P< 0.01). These results indicate that the use of pumice for beak blunting lowers feather loss due to pecking and cannibalistic injuries and improves animal welfare.