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Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids provided during embryonic development
improve the growth performance and welfare of Muscovy ducks
(Cairina moschata)
E. Baéza,∗,1 P. Chartrin,∗ T. Bordeau,∗ M. Lessire,∗ J. M. Thoby,† V. Gigaud,† M. Blanchet,‡
A. Alinier,‡ and C. Leterrier§
∗
INRA, UR83 Recherches Avicoles, F-37380 Nouzilly, France; † DSM Nutritional Products France, 19 avenue
Dubonnet, 92400 Courbevoie, France; ‡ Grimaud Frères Sélection, La Corbière, F-49450 Roussay, France; and
§
INRA, UMR85 Physiologie de la Reproduction et des Comportements, F-37380 Nouzilly, France
ABSTRACT The welfare of ducks can be affected
by unwanted behaviors such as excessive reactivity and
feather pecking. Providing long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC n-3 PUFA) during gestation and
early life has been shown to improve the brain development and function of human and rodent offspring.
The aim of this study was to test whether the pecking behavior of Muscovy ducks during rearing could
be reduced by providing LC n-3 PUFA during embryonic and/or post-hatching development of ducklings.
Enrichment of eggs, and consequently embryos, with
LC n-3 PUFA was achieved by feeding female ducks
(n-3F) a diet containing docosahexaenoic (DHA) and
linolenic acids (microalgae and linseed oil). A control
group of female ducks (CF) was fed a diet containing linoleic acid (soybean oil). Offspring from both
groups were fed starter and grower diets enriched with
DHA and linolenic acid or only linoleic acid, resulting in four treatment groups with 48 ducklings in each.
Several behavioral tests were performed between 1 and
3 weeks of age to analyze the adaptation ability of
ducklings. The growth performance, time budget, social interactions, feather growth, and pecking behavior
of ducklings were recorded regularly during the rearing period. No significant interaction between maternal and duckling feeding was found. Ducklings from
n-3F ducks had a higher body weight at day 0, 28,
and 56, a lower feed conversion ratio during the growth
period, and lower reactivity to stress than ducklings
from CF ducks. Ducklings from n-3F ducks also exhibited a significantly reduced feather pecking frequency
at 49 and 56 days of age and for the whole rearing
period. Moreover, consumption of diets enriched with
n-3 PUFA during the starter and grower post-hatching
periods significantly improved the tibia mineralization
of ducklings and the fatty acid composition of thigh
muscles at 84 days of age by increasing the n-3 FA content.
Key words: muscovy duck, maternal effect, pecking behavior, growth performance, omega-3 polyunsaturated
fatty acids
2017 Poultry Science 96:3176–3187
http://dx.doi.org/10.3382/ps/pex147
INTRODUCTION
Over the course of rearing, ducks can express unwanted behaviors such as high emotional reactivity and
feather pecking. These behaviors usually have detrimental effects on growth performance, animal welfare and health, and even affect carcass quality after
slaughter. The high emotional reactivity leads to fear
behavior that is aggravated by human approach. This
induces fervent moving similar to hyperactivity, suggestive of a panic state (Mills and Faure, 1990). Feather
pecking is a frequently observed behavior of Muscovy
ducks, involving the lifting of feathers, firstly the tail
C 2017 Poultry Science Association Inc.
Received February 20, 2017.
Accepted May 10, 2017.
1
Corresponding author: [email protected]
then the back and wings, which is considered redirected ground pecking derived from a frustrated motivation to forage (Dixon et al., 2008) or a consequence
of hyperactivity-like disorder (Kjaer, 2009). The most
effective way to limit feather pecking is decreased light
intensity (about 7 to 8 lux) during rearing and infrared beak trimming of ducklings just after hatching
(Rochard et al., 2008). However, these practices are ethically criticized and regulated in a few European countries. Because feather pecking is also considered to be
associated with altered social motivation, it is of interest to search for ways to trigger motivational activity
in these ducks.
Over the last few years, numerous studies performed
in humans, rodents, and lemurs have investigated the
role of long chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC
n-3 PUFA), particularly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA;
3176
3177
WELFARE OF MUSCOVY DUCKS
C22:6 n-3), in brain development and activity, especially motivational systems and cognitive abilities
(Bazinet and Layé, 2014). In humans, DHA represents
between 10% and 20% of total fatty acids (FA) in the
brain (Gale et al., 2008; Kuratko et al., 2013). This
is about 10% in chickens between 21 and 42 days of
age (Poureslami et al., 2010); however, DHA content
can vary between 6% and 15% according to the dietary
lipid source (palm oil vs. fish oil). In humans, a low
content of LC n-3 PUFA or a ratio of n-6 FA/n-3 FA
higher than 5 in the brain or blood has been associated
with learning and memory problems, attention deficits,
higher reactivity to stress, hyperactivity, increased locomotive activity, and aggressive behavior (Fedorova and
Salem, 2006; Vinot et al., 2011; Kuratko et al., 2013).
Gale et al. (2008) showed that children whose mothers
had eaten oily fish in early pregnancy had a reduced risk
of hyperactivity compared to those whose mothers did
not. Furthermore, children whose mothers had eaten
oily fish in late pregnancy had a higher verbal intelligence quotient than those whose mothers did not (Gale
et al., 2008). Dietary supplementation of stressed rats
with LC n-3 PUFA has been reported to improve their
learning capacity (Perez et al., 2013). Supplementation
of LC n-3 PUFA also reduces the oxidative phenomena
induced by stress in the brain, and consequently lipid
and protein oxidation, which have deleterious effects on
brain function (Trevizol et al., 2013; Zugno et al., 2014;
Model et al., 2014).
The aim of this study was to test whether the occurrence and extent of pecking behavior of growing Muscovy ducks could be reduced by providing additional
LC n-3 PUFA during embryonic and/or post-hatching
development. During embryonic development, poultry
use the FA stored in the egg yolk. The FA composition of egg yolk depends on the FA composition of the
diet provided to females during the laying period. Maternal impact stays for over 2 to 3 weeks post-hatch
(Ajuyah et al., 2003; Cherian et al., 2009; Koppenol
et al., 2015). Thus, the FA composition of tissues (muscle, adipose tissue, liver, brain, etc.) depends on the FA
composition of diets provided to the birds. Enrichment
of egg yolks was achieved by providing diets containing
microalgae with a high DHA content and linseed oil to
laying female ducks. After hatching, the starting and
growing diets were also supplemented with the same
high-DHA microalgae and linseed oil. Different behavioral tests were performed between 1 and 3 weeks of
age to analyze the adaptation capacity and emotional
reactivity of ducks which could be also modified by providing additional LC n-3 PUFA during embryonic development. The growth performance, time budget, social interactions, feather growth, and pecking behavior
of ducklings were periodically recorded during the rearing period also to test the possible effects of maternal
and offspring dietary treatments on these parameters.
The study was focused on male Muscovy ducks exhibiting a higher frequency of feather pecking than females
(unpublished data).
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Experimental Design
The experiments were evaluated and approved by the
French ethics committee no. 19 of Val de Loire (reference APAFIS#1924-201509280947 v4) according to rural articles R.214-126. Grimaud Frères Sélection S.A.S
(Roussay, France) provided 96 male ducklings from female ducks of the R71 medium line (n-3F, n = 32) fed a
diet enriched with LC n-3 PUFA (linseed oil + microalgae; n-6 FA/n-3 FA ratio lower than 5), and 96 male
ducklings from the R71 medium line from female ducks
(CF, n = 32) fed a diet enriched with n-6 FA (soybean
oil; n-6 FA/n-3 FA ratio higher than 5). This last diet
represented the control diet usually distributed to female ducks. The linseed oil was provided by Huilerie
Coache Company (Vitz sur Authie, France) and the
microalgae (DHA Gold, Schizochytrium sp.) by DSM
Nutritional Products Europe Ltd (Kaiseraugst, Suisse).
The composition and main characteristics of the diets
are presented in Tables 1, 2, and 3. Infrared beak trimming of ducklings was performed just after hatching, as
usually done, in order to limit feather pecking during
Table 1. Composition and main characteristics of diets administered to laying ducks.
Composition (g/kg)
Corn
Soybean meal
Sunflower meal
Wheat
Dicalcium phosphate
Soybean oil
DHA gold TM
Linseed oil
Calcium carbonate
Vitamins and trace minerals
Salt
Lysine-HCl
DL-Methionine
Ronozyme Multigrain
(xylanase + glucanase)
Ronozyme Hiphos (phytase)
Characteristics (g/kg)
Metabolizable energy (MJ/kg)
Crude protein
Lysine
Methionine
Sulfur amino acids
Tryptophan
Threonine
Calcium
Total phosphorus
Available phosphorus
Total fat
Palmitic acid, C16:0
Stearic acid, C18:0
Oleic acid, C18:1
Linoleic acid, C18:2 n-6
Linolenic acid, C18:3 n-3
EPA, C20:5 n-3
DHA, C22:6 n-3
n-3 FA
n-6 FA
n-6 FA/n-3 FA
n-3 FA diet
n-6 FA diet
425.26
155.90
107.60
200.00
20.70
436.06
162.70
97.00
200.00
20.72
15.00
7.00
15.00
58.14
5.00
3.00
0.63
1.63
0.08
58.20
5.00
3.00
0.53
1.65
0.08
0.06
0.06
11.29
160.00
7.61
4.12
6.81
1.84
5.63
30.10
6.44
4.20
46.39
2.35
0.64
3.50
13.26
8.84
0.04
1.36
10.24
13.26
1.29
11.29
160.00
7.61
4.12
6.80
1.84
5.63
30.10
6.51
4.20
42.95
2.29
0.72
4.20
19.46
1.38
0
0
1.38
19.46
14.10
EPA, eicosapentaenoic acid; DHA, docosahexaenoic acid.
3178
BAÉZA ET AL.
Table 2. Composition and main characteristics of diets administered to ducklings.
Composition
(g/kg)
Corn
Soybean meal
Wheat
Dicalcium phosphate
Soybean oil
Linseed oil
Calcium carbonate
Vitamins and trace minerals
Salt
DHA gold TM
DL-Methionine
Ronozyme Multigrain
Ronozyme Hiphos
Characteristics (g/kg)
Metabolizable energy (MJ/kg)
Crude protein
Lysine
Sulfur amino acids
Tryptophan
Threonine
Calcium
Available phosphorus
Total fat
Palmitic acid, C16:0
Stearic acid, C18:0
Oleic acid, C18:1
Linoleic acid, C18:2 n-6
Linolenic acid, C18:3 n-3
EPA, C20:5 n-3
DHA, C22:6 n-3
n-3 FA
n-6 FA
n-6 FA/n-3 FA
Starting
n-3 FA
Starting
n-6 FA
Growing
n-3 FA
Growing
n-6 FA
Finishing
298.70
281.30
350.00
18.80
301.00
282.10
350.00
18.80
32.80
336.80
253.50
350.00
17.00
338.70
254.30
350.00
17.00
25.90
219.00
182.57
550.00
11.10
22.40
4.50
5.00
3.00
1.40
0.10
0.10
5.40
5.00
3.00
0.25
1.08
0.10
0.10
12.54
180
8.96
7.23
2.21
6.64
8.52
3.81
51.65
5.20
1.43
10.30
25.16
2.53
0
0
2.53
25.16
9.94
12.54
160
7.50
6.42
1.98
5.63
7.30
3.11
44.22
4.66
1.20
8.54
21.56
2.29
0
0
2.29
21.56
9.41
32.80
5.60
5.00
3.00
3.00
1.60
0.10
0.10
12.54
190
9.64
7.65
2.36
7.05
9.51
4.10
58.87
4.37
1.48
10.06
15.38
19.34
0.02
0.58
19.94
15.38
0.77
1.60
0.10
0.10
25.60
4.50
5.00
3.00
3.00
1.40
0.10
0.10
12.54
190
9.66
7.65
2.36
7.05
9.47
4.10
57.32
5.86
1.70
11.59
28.42
3.04
0
0
3.04
28.42
9.35
12.54
180
8.95
7.23
2.21
6.65
8.53
3.81
52.92
4.09
1.25
9.04
14.81
15.24
0.02
0.58
15.84
14.81
0.93
5.50
5.00
3.00
EPA, eicosapentaenoic acid; DHA, docosahexaenoic acid.
the rearing period. At the poultry experimental unit
PEAT (INRA, Nouzilly, France), ducklings were distributed into four treatment groups, each comprising
four pens of 12 animals (length × width = 2.2 × l m
per pen): n-3 FA/n-3 FA, laying ducks and ducklings
fed diet enriched with LC n-3 PUFA; n-3 FA/n-6 FA,
laying ducks fed diet enriched with LC n-3 PUFA and
ducklings fed diet enriched with n-6 FA; n-6 FA/n-3 FA,
laying ducks fed diet enriched with n-6 FA and ducklings fed diet enriched with LC n-3 PUFA; n-6 FA/n-6
FA, laying ducks and ducklings fed diet enriched with
n-6 FA. The n-6 diets represented the control diets usually used to rear Muscovy ducklings.
The ducklings were reared under standard conditions
on plastic slats, with rearing split into three distinct
periods: starting (0 to 4 weeks), growing (4 to 8 weeks),
and finishing (8 to 12 weeks). All ducks were fed the
same diet enriched with n-6 FA during the finishing
period (Tables 2 and 3). After the first rearing week,
the light intensity in the building was reduced to 7 to 8
lux and the lighting duration to 12 h per day in order
to limit feather pecking.
Measurements
After 19 days of administration of the experimental
diet, one egg per laying duck was taken and weighed.
The egg yolks of 12 randomly selected eggs per group
(n = 32) were weighed and stored at −20◦ C for analysis of the fatty acid composition. During the 10 weeks
of experimental diet administration, the laying (laying
rate, weight of eggs, and feed consumption) and reproductive (fertility rate, hatchability, and weight of
ducklings) performance of ducks in both groups were
recorded each week. The growth performance of ducklings was also recorded by weighing animals at 1, 28, 56,
and 84 days of age, and by measuring feed consumption
per pen during the same periods.
The feather growth was evaluated weekly on two
ducks per pen by measuring the length of feathers on
the belly, back near the wings, tail, border of the median
segment of the wings, flanks, and thighs. The frequency
(number of affected ducks per pen), localization and
severity of feather pecking were visually observed and
noted. The latter parameter was recorded taking into
account the affected area, and scores of 1, 2, and 3 corresponded to an area less than 5 cm2 , between 5 and 10
cm2 , and greater than 10 cm2 , respectively. The number
of ducks presenting locomotive disorder was also noted.
The social motivation and emotional reactivity of
ducklings were evaluated by individual tests between
1 and 3 weeks of age. The social motivation was measured through the response of ducklings to a social
isolation and a social choice test. Emotional reactivity was measured by the tonic immobility test and the
3179
WELFARE OF MUSCOVY DUCKS
Table 3. Analyzed fatty acid composition of experimental diets (percentage of total fatty acids).
Laying diets
Total lipids
C14:0
C14:1
C16:0
C16:1
C18:0
C18:1
C18:2 n-6
C18:3 n-3
C20:0
C20:1
C20:4 n-6
C20:5 n-3
C22:4 n-6
C22:5 n-3
C22:6 n-3
SFA
MUFA
PUFA
n-6 FA
n-3 FA
n-6 FA/n-3 FA
Starting period
Growing period
Finishing period
n-3 FA
n-6 FA
n-3 FA
n-6 FA
n-3 FA
n-6 FA
4.33
0.95
0.09
22.59
0.88
6.29
39.80
20.46
6.00
0.28
0.16
1.10
0.09
0.42
0.03
0.88
30.11
40.93
28.98
21.98
7.00
3.14
3.72
0.17
0.09
13.72
0.52
3.29
28.04
49.33
4.05
0.35
0.22
0.10
0.09
0.01
0.01
0.02
17.53
28.87
53.61
49.44
4.17
11.86
5.70
0.30
1.47
9.54
0.14
3.86
21.62
31.71
29.57
0.22
0.16
5.33
0.14
0.02
11.77
0.09
3.06
23.74
52.51
8.09
0.20
0.23
5.30
0.31
0.01
10.40
0.09
3.45
21.82
39.93
22.46
0.24
0.19
4.41
0.07
0.01
12.70
0.08
3.38
23.70
53.76
5.72
0.32
0.21
4.35
0.12
0.03
13.2
0.35
3.31
23.57
52.12
6.71
0.30
0.25
0.36
0.01
0.35
0.02
0.00
1.05
13.92
23.39
62.69
32.07
30.62
1.05
0.04
15.27
24.08
60.65
52.52
8.13
6.46
0.80
14.35
22.11
63.54
40.28
23.26
1.73
0.04
16.46
24.00
59.54
53.78
5.76
9.34
0.04
16.93
24.20
58.87
52.12
6.75
7.72
FA, fatty acids; SFA, saturated fatty acids; MUFA, monounsaturated fatty acids; PUFA, polyunsaturated fatty acids.
hole-in-a-wall test, which measured their motivation to
exit a black box. The social isolation test was carried
out on 16 ducks per group (four ducks per pen) at 6
days of age. The duckling was placed alone at the entrance of a pen located in a different room, similar to
the 2.2 m2 rearing pen. The pen was divided into 15
equivalent areas (3 × 5). Over a 3-min period we noted
the latency until first vocalization, and every 10 s we
recorded the position of the duckling in the different
areas of the pen. The number of different areas used
by the duckling and the number of transitions between
different areas were then calculated. The motivation to
exit a black box (length × width × height = 50 × 30
× 30 cm) was tested on 24 ducks per group (six ducks
per pen) at 7 days of age. The black box was placed
in a pen located in a different room. The duckling was
placed alone in this box, and we waited 5 s before opening the front-facing door. The latency to exit the box
was then noted. The social motivation test was performed on 16 ducks per group (four ducks per pen) at
8 days of age. Three small boxes containing 0, 1, or 2
ducklings were placed in a new pen. The box that did
not contain any ducklings was placed between the two
other boxes, and the position of the boxes occupied by
one or two ducklings was alternated every two tests.
The area in front of these boxes was divided into six
parts (3 × 2). The tested duckling was placed alone at
the entrance of the pen. The position of this duckling
in the different areas was recorded every 10 s over a
total period of 2 min. The number of times the duckling was positioned in front of the boxes containing 0,
1, or 2 ducklings and the number of transitions between
these different positions were then counted. The tonic
immobility test was performed on 12 ducks per group
(three ducks per pen) at 19 days of age. The duckling
was placed on its back and restrained for 10 s using
one hand placed on the sternum, after which the duration of immobility was recorded. If tonic immobility
was not attained after five successive attempts a score
of 0 s was given. If the duck failed to right itself after 5
min a maximum score of 5 min was given.
The time budget of each group and the social interactions were measured for each pen at 4, 6, 8, and 10
weeks of age. The behaviors were recorded during six
scans performed during the morning (08:30 to 12:15)
and six scans during the afternoon (13:30 to 16:45).
Over a period of 2 min, the number of ducks expressing
each behavior was noted per pen, and a percentage was
then calculated taking into account the number of ducks
present during the observations. The observed behaviors were: sleeping, standing, sitting, eating, drinking,
walking, grooming, pecking another duckling, pulling
another duckling’s feathers, fighting, pecking at the environment, and disturbing another duckling. The data
were analyzed by firstly calculating the average percentage for each behavior for each pen per day, and then
calculating an overall average percentage by pooling all
observation days for each behavior and each pen.
At 12 weeks of age, 12 randomly selected ducks per
group (three per pen) were stunned with electronarcosis
head only and immediately bled. One tibia from each
animal was removed and weighed. The diameter was
measured with a caliper. The bone breaking strength
(BBS) and the mineralization rate were also analyzed.
The BBS was measured using an Instron testing machine (model 5543; Instron S.A., Guyancourt, France).
The bone stiffness (slope of the linear part during the
flexion test) was also determined. The distance between the two fulcrum points (the length over which
mechanical tests were performed) was 6 cm and the
3180
BAÉZA ET AL.
pecking behavior or leg problems were analyzed with a
chi-square test.
deformation speed was 5 mm/min. The weight of the
defatted (24 h immersed in ether) and dried (16 h at
110◦ C) tibia was then determined. Finally, tibias were
ashed for 12 h at 550◦ C in a muffle furnace and the
ash/dry defatted weight was calculated. Thigh muscles
were stored at −20◦ C until analysis to determine the
total lipid content and FA composition. The total lipid
content and FA composition of the diets fed to laying
ducks and ducklings were also determined. Lipids were
extracted gravimetrically in methanol:chloroform (1:2)
according to Folch et al. (1957). The FA composition
was determined by gas chromatography (Autosystem;
Perkin Elmer, St Quentin en Yvelines, France) after
transmethylation of lipids (Morrisson and Smith, 1964).
Methyl esters were identified and quantified by comparison with standards (Sigma, St Quentin Fallavier,
France).
RESULTS
Laying and Reproductive Performance of
Female Ducks and Fatty Acid Composition
of Eggs
Enrichment of the laying diet with linseed oil and
microalgae had no effect on the laying and reproductive
performance of female ducks (data not shown), nor on
the weight of eggs (74.1 g) or the weight (26.2 g) and
lipid content (34.3%) of egg yolks (Table 4). The lipids
of egg yolks from the CF group displayed higher levels
of C20:4 n-6 and C22:4 n-6 than the lipids of egg yolks
from the n-3F group (increased by 1.4- and 1.5-times,
respectively), and the ratio of n-6 FA/n-3 FA was 3.7fold higher. In contrast, the lipids of egg yolks from
the n-3F group displayed higher levels of C18:3 n-3,
C20:5 n-3, C22:5 n-3, and C22:6 n-3 than the lipids of
egg yolks from the CF group (increased by 3.2−, 3.5−,
1.6−, and 2.5-times, respectively).
Statistical Analyses
The effect of the diets administered to laying ducks
and then to ducklings and their interaction were tested
(Statview software, SAS, Cary, NC). The continuous
variables and normality of data distribution were submitted to variance analysis, with P < 0.05 indicating
statistical significance. The variables with a non-normal
distribution (behavioral observations) were analyzed
with non-parametric tests (Kruskall-Wallis, Mann and
Whitney), with P < 0.05 indicating statistical significance. Differences in the occurrence of disorders such as
Growth Performance of Ducklings
Ducklings from the n-3F group had a higher body
weight at hatching and at 28 and 56 days of age, a
higher daily weight gain during the starting and growing periods, and a lower feed conversion ratio during
the growing period than ducklings from the CF group
Table 4. Effect of the fatty acid composition of the laying diet on the weight of eggs
(g) and the weight (g), total lipid content (%), and fatty acid composition (percentage
of total fatty acids) of egg yolks (mean ± SE, n = 12).
Laying diets
Weight of egg
Weight of egg yolk
Lipid content
Myristic acid, C14:0
Myristoleic acid, C14:1
Palmitic acid, C16:0
Palmitoleic acid, C16:1
Stearic acid, C18:0
Oleic acid, C18:1
Linoleic acid, C18:2 n-6
Linolenic acid, C18:3 n-3
Arachidic acid, C20:0
Eicosenoic acid, C20:1
Arachidonic acid, C20:4 n-6
EPA, C20:5 n-3
Adrenic acid, C22:4 n-6
DPA, C22:5 n-3
DHA, C22:6 n-3
SFA
MUFA
PUFA
n-6 FA
n-3 FA
n-6 FA/n-3 FA
n-3 FA
74.3
26.2
33.22
0.58
0.06
26.32
2.01
6.61
51.80
7.46
1.93
0.02
0.10
1.48
0.14
0.17
0.14
1.19
33.53
53.97
12.51
9.10
3.40
2.68
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
4.4
2.2
3.44
0.09
0.02
1.21
0.29
0.83
2.66
1.66
0.57
0.01
0.01
0.24
0.04
0.05
0.03
0.19
1.84
2.47
2.31
1.76
0.60
0.23
n-6 FA
Effect of diet
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
0.72
0.91
0.22
0.54
0.19
0.99
0.65
0.07
0.76
0.23
0.001
0.75
0.26
0.006
0.001
0.001
0.001
0.001
0.36
0.79
0.27
0.06
0.001
0.001
73.8
26.1
35.32
0.61
0.07
26.32
1.94
7.20
52.09
8.19
0.60
0.02
0.11
2.00
0.04
0.25
0.09
0.48
34.14
54.21
11.66
10.44
1.22
9.91
3.7
2.0
4.66
0.09
0.02
1.09
0.41
0.69
1.83
1.17
0.34
0.01
0.01
0.55
0.04
0.06
0.03
0.25
1.37
1.65
1.23
1.48
0.63
2.99
FA, fatty acid; EPA, eicosapentaenoic acid; DPA, docosapentaenoic acid; DHA, docosahexaenoic acid; SFA, saturated fatty acids; MUFA, monounsaturated fatty acids; PUFA, polyunsaturated fatty acids.
3181
WELFARE OF MUSCOVY DUCKS
Table 5. Effect of the fatty acid composition of diets administered to laying ducks then to ducklings on the growth performance of
ducklings (mean ± SE, n = 4).
n-3 FA/
n-3 FA
BW D0 (g)
BW D28 (g)
BW D56 (g)
BW D84 (g)
DWG D0–28 (g/day)
DWG D28–56 (g/day)
DWG D56–84 (g/day)
DWG D0–84 (g/day)
AFC D0–28 (g/day)
AFC D28–56 (g/day)
AFC D56–84 (g/day)
AFC D0–84 (g/day)
FCR D0–28
FCR D28–56
FCR D56–84
FCR D0–84
43.7
1523
4099
5291
53
92
42
63
79
204
220
168
1.49
2.22
5.22
2.68
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
3.3
107
241
350
4
2
2
1
1
2
8
3
0.02
0.02
0.12
0.04
n-3 FA/
n-6 FA
43.8
1495
4032
5330
52
91
46
63
77
198
222
165
1.50
2.19
4.91
2.62
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
3.2
108
267
276
4
3
3
1
3
8
5
5
0.02
0.01
0.39
0.07
n-6 FA/
n-3 FA
42.9
1476
3971
5224
51
89
45
62
77
203
220
166
1.50
2.28
4.98
2.69
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
3.0
97
286
352
3
2
4
2
3
6
5
4
0.04
0.12
0.40
0.10
n-6 FA/
n-6 FA
Laying diet
effect
Growing diet
effect
Interaction
effect
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
0.05
0.03
0.005
0.23
0.04
0.08
0.30
0.20
0.47
0.77
0.72
0.91
0.40
0.03
0.21
0.45
0.96
0.33
0.19
0.44
0.33
0.38
0.11
0.57
0.89
0.40
0.80
0.57
0.45
1.00
0.10
0.31
0.89
0.43
0.73
0.97
0.43
0.95
0.76
0.85
0.39
0.46
0.77
0.72
0.47
0.45
0.86
0.62
42.9
1473
3932
5268
51
88
47
62
78
202
220
166
1.52
2.30
4.72
2.67
2.9
127
311
430
5
4
3
1
4
10
8
9
0.04
0.07
0.32
0.10
BW, body weight; DWG, daily weight gain; AFC, average feed consumption; FA, fatty acid; FCR, feed conversion ratio.
Feather length (cm)
20
18
16
Belly
Back
Wings
Thigh
Flanks
Tail
14
12
10
8
6
4
2
0
5 15 21 28 35 40 49 56 63 68 75 84
Age (days)
Figure 1. Average feather growth estimated by measuring the
length of feathers on the belly, back near the wings, border of the
median segment of wings, upper part of thighs, flanks, and tail of
ducklings (n = 32).
(Table 5). For the finishing period and the entire rearing period, neither of the diets, administered to laying ducks, had any effect on the growth performance of
ducklings. The diets administered to ducklings during
the starting and growing periods also had no effect on
the growth performance (Table 5). There was no interaction between both factors for growth performance.
Feather Growth of Ducklings
The diets administered to laying females then to
ducklings had no effect on the feather growth of ducklings (P > 0.05, data not shown). The average feather
length for various body parts is presented in Figure 1.
Between 5 and 15 days of age the ducklings were covered with yellow down over their body. Feathers began
to grow at the border of the median segment of their
wings. At 21 days of age, the down on the belly, thighs,
and flanks turned white. The feathers began to grow on
the back near the wings, flanks and tail. By this point,
the wings had lost their down and the skin appeared
naked. The head and neck were still covered with yellow down throughout this period. At 28 days of age, the
feathers began to grow on the belly, and the feathers
had begun to grow on the head and neck by 40 days
of age. At 56 days of age, the length of feathers on
the back, belly, and tail reached a plateau. The plateau
was reached at 68 days for the thigh and 75 days for
the wings.
Behavior of Ducklings
Neither of the diets administered to laying ducks had
an effect on the results of the social isolation test. The
latency to leave the black box in the hole-in-the-wall
test was not affected by the laying diet. In the social
test, the number of dots placed in front of the boxes
containing 0, 1, or 2 ducklings was not affected by the
maternal diet. However, in the choice of social group
test ducklings from the CF group displayed a 2-fold
higher number of transitions than ducklings from the
n-3F group, with the n-6 FA/n-6 FA group of ducklings
showing the highest value (Table 6). The duration of
the tonic immobility test was lower for the ducklings
from the n-3F group than that of ducklings from the
CF group (92.3 vs. 128.4 s). Administration of the diets
during the starting and growing periods had no effect
on the individual behavior tests of ducklings (Table 6).
During the rearing period, the main behaviors expressed by ducklings were sleeping and grooming
(Table 7). With age, the percentage of sleeping ducks
decreased and the percentage of standing ducks increased. The diets administered to laying females had
no effect on time budget and social interactions, the
only exception being at d 70 where the percentage of
ducks that were pecking another duckling was higher
for ducklings from the n-3F group when compared with
those from the CF group. The diet administered during
the starting and growing periods had no effect on time
budget and social interactions except at d 61, where the
3182
BAÉZA ET AL.
Table 6. Effect of the fatty acid (FA) composition of diets administered to laying ducks then to ducklings on the individual behavior
of ducklings (mean ± SE).
n-3 FA/
n-3 FA
Social isolation test on day 6 (n = 16)
Latency until first vocalization (s)
2.9
Number of travelled areas
7.4
Number of transitions between areas
20.6
Hole-in-a-wall test on day 7 (n = 24)
Emergence latency (s)
22.6
Social choice test on day 8 (n = 16)
Number of dots placed in front of box containing 0 ducks 4.4
Number of dots placed in front of box containing 1 duck 1.1
Number of dots placed in front of box containing 2 ducks 6.9
Number of transitions between areas
3.1
Tonic immobility test on day 19 (n = 12)
Duration of tonic immobility (s)
68.4
a,b,c
n-3 FA/
n-6 FA
n-6 FA/
n-3 FA
n-6 FA/
6 FA
± 2.6
± 1.7
± 6.3
4.7 ± 5.3
6.8 ± 2.0
18.4 ± 6.8
3.4 ± 2.6
7.4 ± 2.0
21.3 ± 7.8
4.5 ± 3.1
6.8 ± 1.8
17.9 ± 7.1
± 22.4
27.0 ± 25.6 26.3 ± 33.2 31.7 ± 35.3
±
±
±
±
3.7
2.4
4.3
2.0 c
3.6
2.0
6.4
3.3
±
±
±
±
3.3
2.5
4.8
3.5c
3.4
1.6
7.2
6.3
±
±
±
±
3.2
1.5
3.3
4.5b
2.9
2.1
7.0
7.1
±
±
±
±
1.9
2.1
3.3
4.6a
± 36.5 116.2 ± 98.0 127.9 ± 66.9 128.8 ± 87.4
Laying diet Growing diet Group
effect
effect
effect
0.83
0.97
0.97
0.11
0.16
0.16
0.68
0.75
0.57
0.49
0.42
0.93
0.62
0.11
0.82
0.0001
0.54
0.23
0.98
0.98
0.89
0.21
0 .98
0.001
0.04
0.36
0.13
significant interaction effect within a row.
percentage of ducks pecking a littermate was higher for
groups fed diets enriched with n-3 FA in comparison
with groups fed diets enriched with n-6 FA.
Any feather pecking was observed at 5, 15, and 21
days of age. Feather pecking began at 28 days of age,
occurring on the tip of the tail and on the back near
the wings, but the frequency decreased after 56 days
of age (Figures 2 and 3). From 35 days of age, the extremities of wings were also affected. The number of
ducklings affected by feather pecking was significantly
lower at 49 and 56 days of age (Figure 2) and also for the
whole rearing period (P < 0.001) for ducklings from the
n-3F group compared with those from the CF group.
The laying diets had no effect on the severity of feather
pecking (P > 0.05; Figures 2 and 3). The diets administered during the starting and growing periods had no effect on the frequency and severity (P > 0.05) of feather
pecking (Figures 2 and 3).
muscles (Table 9). The diets administered to ducklings
during the starting and growing periods had no effect on
the lipid content of thigh muscles (Table 9). However,
the thigh muscles of ducklings fed starting and growing diets enriched with n-3 FA had lower saturated FA
(28.59% vs. 29.32%), C18:2 n-6 (22.10% vs. 24.66%),
n-6 FA (22.10% vs. 24.66%) contents and n-6 FA/n-3FA
ratio (4.82% vs. 9.23%), but higher C18:3 n-3 (4.25%
vs. 2.31%) and n-3 FA (5.10% vs. 2.93%) contents than
the thigh muscles of ducklings fed starting and growing
diets enriched with n-6 FA. There was no interaction
between both factors found for any of these parameters.
Locomotive Disorders and Tibia
Characteristics of Ducklings
Enrichment of the laying diets with linseed oil and
microalgae had no effect on the laying and reproductive performance of females, nor on the weight of eggs
and the weight and lipid content of egg yolks. However,
the lipids of egg yolks were enriched with n-3 FA. On
the other hand, the ducklings from laying females that
had been fed a diet enriched with n-3 FA displayed a
better growth performance until 56 days of age than
those from laying females fed a diet enriched with n-6
FA. The microalgae content of the laying diet was limited to 0.7% in order to avoid the negative impact of
LC n-3 PUFA on the weight of the egg, weight of the
egg yolk, and weight of chick at hatching, previously reported by Van Elswyk (1997); Aigueperse et al. (2013)
and Koppenol et al. (2015) in experiments that administered diets containing 1.5 to 2.0% fish oil. Chen et al.
(2014) tested the effect of 0, 5, 10, or 15% linseed oil
content in diets, finding no effect on the laying and reproductive performance of geese, nor the egg quality.
Only the composition of egg yolk was modified in their
study, with the n-3 PUFA content increasing from 6.1
to 31.7 g/kg dry matter. The positive effect of LC n-3
In the present study, locomotive disorders affected
22 ducks, of which seven were from the n-3F group and
15 were from the CF group. However, these differences
were not statistically significant (P = 0.56 for laying
diet effect and P = 0.19 for growing diet effect). The
laying diets had no effect on tibia characteristics (Table 8). The tibias of ducks fed starting and growing diets enriched with n-3 FA had a lower fresh weight but
higher ash content than the tibias of ducks fed starting and growing diets enriched with n-6 FA (Table 8).
There was no interaction between both factors for tibia
characteristics.
Lipid Content and Fatty Acid Composition
of Thigh Muscles
The diets administered to laying ducks had no effect
on the lipid content and fatty acid composition of thigh
DISCUSSION
Effects of Enriching the Laying Diet with n-3
Fatty Acids
3183
WELFARE OF MUSCOVY DUCKS
Table 7. Effect of the fatty acid (FA) composition of diets administered to laying ducks then to ducklings on the
average time budget and social interactions between ducklings at different ages, recorded over a total of 12 daily
scans of 2 min each per pen (percentage of ducks expressing each behavior, non-exclusive behaviors; n = 4).
Behaviors
Time budget and social interactions at d
Sleeping
Standing
Sitting
Eating
Drinking
Walking
Grooming
Pecking another duckling
Pulling the feather of another duckling
Fighting
Pecking at the environment
Disturbing another duckling
Time budget and social interactions at d
Sleeping
Standing
Sitting
Eating
Drinking
Walking
Grooming
Pecking another duckling
Pulling the feather of another duckling
Fighting
Pecking at the environment
Disturbing another duckling
Time budget and social interactions at d
Sleeping
Standing
Sitting
Eating
Drinking
Walking
Grooming
Pecking another duckling
Pulling the feather of another duckling
Fighting
Pecking at the environment
Disturbing another duckling
Time budget and social interactions at d
Sleeping
Standing
Sitting
Eating
Drinking
Walking
Grooming
Pecking another duckling
Pulling the feather of another duckling
Fighting
Pecking at the environment
Disturbing another duckling
n-3 FA/
n-3 FA
n-3 FA/
n-6 FA
n-6 FA/
n-3 FA
n-6 FA/
n-6 FA
Laying diet
effect
Growing diet
effect
97
7
2
1
5
2
17
2
0
0
4
3
96
10
2
2
6
3
19
2
0
0
5
4
95
8
1
1
7
6
14
3
1
0
4
3
93
9
1
3
5
4
17
2
1
0
1
3
0.14
0.92
0.07
0.71
0.96
0.09
0.09
0.96
0.60
0.99
0.13
0.32
0.32
0.46
0.49
0.29
0.96
0.64
0.25
0.29
0.75
0.40
0.37
0.53
91
9
1
2
9
5
19
0
1
0
4
3
91
9
1
1
10
5
20
0
0
0
6
4
92
7
2
2
8
5
23
0
1
0
3
2
90
11
1
3
9
6
16
0
2
0
6
4
0.83
0.71
0.64
0.75
0.53
0.67
0.60
0.75
0.60
0.99
0.96
0.40
0.53
0.60
0.64
0.92
0.67
0.83
0.32
0.64
0.40
0.99
0.19
0.29
71
29
0
0
6
4
16
8
1
0
5
2
76
25
0
0
7
7
16
4
1
0
7
3
78
19
1
0
7
6
17
6
3
1
5
2
76
24
0
0
5
6
15
4
2
1
4
4
0.67
0.23
0.21
0.40
0.71
0.67
0.96
0.37
0.14
0.40
0.53
0.40
0.75
0.49
0.64
0.96
0.71
0.56
0.64
0.01
0.71
0.87
0.99
0.34
71
36
0
1
8
7
15
6
3
1
9
3
67
33
1
3
8
7
18
7
2
1
9
4
67
37
0
2
7
6
19
6
4
2
11
3
69
33
1
1
8
6
14
4
2
1
7
2
0.79
0.92
0.83
0.32
0.87
0.37
0.60
0.05
0.71
0.21
0.53
0.13
0.83
0.25
0.25
0.79
0.79
0.79
0.60
0.83
0.23
0.32
0.46
0.34
30
40
61
70
PUFA on the growth of ducklings observed in our study
could be mediated by their role in the prevention of oxidative stress, lipid peroxidation, and protein oxidation
in the brain (Trevizol et al., 2013; Zugno et al., 2014;
Model et al., 2014). It is only a hypothesis which would
deserve to be verified.
In our experimental conditions, the enrichment of
laying diet with n-3 FA had only few effects on the
emotional reactivity of ducklings, with ducklings displaying a lower number of transitions during the social
choice test and a lower duration of the tonic immobility test than ducklings from laying females fed diet an
enriched with n-6 FA. These observations suggest a reduced indecision state and/or locomotive activity, as
well as lower reactivity to stressful conditions. Indeed,
the duration of tonic immobility in birds is related to
emotional reactivity (Gallup, 1974). In humans, a low
LC PUFA n-3 content in the brain or blood or a high n-6
FA/n-3 FA ratio are associated with higher stress reactivity, hyperactivity, increased locomotive activity, and
aggressive behavior (Fedorova and Salem, 2006; Vinot
et al., 2011; Kuratko et al., 2013). The enrichment of
laying diet with n-3 FA also had only few effects on
the time budget and social interactions of ducklings. It
3184
BAÉZA ET AL.
12
10
8
6
Number of ducks in each pen affected
by feather pecking at D28
Laying diet effect: P = 0.64
Growing diet effect: P = 0.75
SS = 1
SS = 1
10
Laying diet effect: P = 0.23
Growing diet effect: P = 0.64
8
6
4
4
2
2
0
Number of ducks in each pen affected
by feather pecking at D35
12
SS = 1
0
1 2 5 6 9 10 13 14 3 4 7 8 11 12 15 16
Laying diet n-3 FA
12
10
8
1 2 5 6 9 10 13 14 3 4 7 8 11 12 15 16
Laying diet n-6 FA
Numbre of ducks in each pen affected
by feather pecking at D40
Laying diet effect: P = 0.34
Growing diet effect: P = 0.53
Laying diet n-3 FA
12
10
8
SS = 1
SS = 1
4
2
2
SS = 3
1 2 5 6 9 10 13 14 3 4 7 8 11 12 15 16
1 2 5 6 9 10 13 14 3 4 7 8 11 12 15 16
Laying diet n-3 FA
6
Laying diet effect: P = 0.01
Growing diet effect: P = 0.21
0
0
8
Number of ducks in each pen affected
by feather pecking at D49
SS = 1-2
4
10
Laying diet n-6 FA
6
6
12
SS = 1
Number of ducks in each pen affected
by feather pecking at D56
Laying diet effect: P = 0.04
Growing diet effect: P = 0.46
SS = 1-3
Laying diet n-3 FA
Laying diet n-6 FA
SS = 1-3
12
10
8
6
4
4
2
2
0
Laying diet n-6 FA
Number of ducks in each pen affected
by feather pecking at D63
Laying diet effect: P = 0.17
Growing diet effect: P = 0.96
SS = 2
SS = 1-3
0
1 2 5 6 9 10 13 14 3 4 7 8 11 12 15 16
Laying diet n-3 FA
Laying diet n-6 FA
1 2 5 6 9 10 13 14 3 4 7 8 11 12 15 16
Laying diet n-3 FA
Laying diet n-6 FA
Figure 2. Effect of the fatty acid (FA) composition of diets administered to laying ducks then to ducklings on the number of ducks affected
by feather pecking in each pen and the severity score (SS) at 28, 35, 40, 49, 56, and 63 days of age (n = 8). The number indicated under the
x-axis represents the pen number.
should be noted that the Muscovy duck is not a particularly active animal, with our results confirming the
observations of Baéza et al. (2003) who reported that
Muscovy ducks spent about 75% of their time sleeping.
Nevertheless, enrichment of the laying diet with n-3 FA
reduced the number of ducks that were pecked. Feather
pecking began at 28 days of age when the feathers had
begun to grow, but decreased after 56 days when the
growth of the main feathers reached a plateau, as previously reported by Baéza et al. (2003). Different factors
can affect the feather pecking of Muscovy ducks, such
as the rearing density (Desforges, 2002; Baéza et al.,
2003) and group size. Feed restriction of future breeders
can also exacerbate this behavior. Several methods have
been tested to limit the development of feather pecking
behavior, including the use of eye protection, decreased
light intensity in the building (Heil and Torges, 1990),
increased dietary protein or sulfur amino acids content,
environmental enrichment with different objects, water
or different feed (whole cereal seeds, flour etc.; Riber
and Mench, 2008), and rearing Muscovy ducks together
with Pekin ducks (Klemm et al., 1995). However, the
dietary treatment used in our study had not previously
been tested for whether it could reduce the feather pecking of birds. The reduction in feather pecking from
enrichment of the laying diet with n-3 FA cannot be
3185
WELFARE OF MUSCOVY DUCKS
12
10
8
Number of ducks in each pen affected
by feather pecking at D68
Laying diet effect: P = 0.17
Growing diet effect: P = 0.75
12
Number of ducks in each pen affected
by feather pecking at D75
10
Laying diet effect: P = 0.14
Growing diet effect: P = 0.79
8
6
6
SS = 1-3
SS = 1-3
SS = 1
4
4
2
2
0
0
1 2 5 6 9 10 13 14 3 4 7 8 11 12 15 16
Laying diet n-3 FA
12
10
8
6
SS = 1-3
1 2 5 6 9 10 13 14 3 4 7 8 11 12 15 16
Laying diet n-3 FA
Laying diet n-6 FA
Laying diet n-6 FA
Number of ducks in each pean affected
by feather pecking at D84
Laying diet effect: P = 0.08
Growing diet effect: P = 0.08
SS = 1
SS = 1-2
4
2
0
1 2 5 6 9 10 13 14 3 4 7 8 11 12 15 16
Laying diet n-3 FA
Laying diet n-6 FA
Figure 3. Effect of the fatty acid (FA) composition of diets administered to laying ducks then to ducklings on the number of ducks affected by
feather pecking in each pen and the severity score (SS) at 68, 75, and 84 days of age (n = 8). The number indicated under the x-axis represents
the pen number.
Table 8. Effect of the fatty acid (FA) composition of diets administered to laying ducks then to ducklings on tibia characteristics at
84 days of age (mean ± SE, n = 12).
n-3 FA/
n-3 FA
Diameter (mm)
Length (mm)
Fresh weight (g)
Dry matter (%)
Ash weight (g)
Ash content (%)
Bone stiffness (N/mm)
Bone breaking strength (N)
7.3
125
18.0
62.6
5.68
50.6
168
362
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
0.5
3
1.4
2.1
0.47
2.4
58
93
n-3 FA/
n-6 FA
7.3
128
18.5
62.8
5.75
49.8
185
389
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
0.5
4
1.6
3.0
0.41
2.3
39
52
n-6 FA/
n-3 FA
7.4
126
17.9
63.0
5.69
50.6
196
393
explained by changes in the feather growth of offspring,
as this was not affected by the dietary treatment. In addition, our observations on feather growth confirm data
previously reported by Szasz (2003) on the Muscovy
duck.
Effects of Enriching the Starting and
Growing diets with n-3 Fatty Acids
The enrichment of starting and growing diets with n3 FA had a positive effect on the ash content of tibias.
Oh et al. (2015) showed that diets containing 1 or 2 g
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
0.3
4
1.2
2.0
0.38
1.9
26
33
n-6 FA/
n-6 FA
Laying diet
effect
Growing diet
effect
Interaction
effect
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
±
0.79
0.66
0.57
0.96
0.98
0.28
0.63
0.67
0.88
0.14
0.05
0.67
0.64
0.02
0.64
0.86
0.95
0.09
0.61
0.49
0.90
0.28
0.06
0.20
7.4
126
19.0
62.3
5.73
48.5
168
373
0.6
3
1.2
1.6
0.36
1.3
30
52
microalgae (Chlorella vulgaris) per kilogram, rich in LC
n-3 PUFA, increased the BBS and ash content of tibia
from Pekin ducks at 6 weeks of age. In mammals, LC n-3
PUFA, and particularly DHA, stimulate bone accretion
(Lau et al., 2013). This effect could also limit the locomotive problems of Muscovy ducks that occur mainly
during the finishing period. On the reverse, Jahja et al.
(2013) using only linseed oil in enriched n-3 FA diet of
laying hens found no significant effect on bone characteristics by comparison with diets containing palm oil
or soybean oil.
Starting and growing diets enriched with n-3 FA also
had positive effects on the FA composition of thigh
3186
BAÉZA ET AL.
Table 9. Effect of the fatty acid composition of diets administered to laying ducks then to ducklings on the lipid content (%) and
fatty acid composition (percentage of total fatty acids) of thigh muscle at 84 days of age (mean, n = 12).
Lipid content
C14:0
C14:1
C16:0
C16:1
C18:0
C18:1
C18:2 n-6
C18:3 n-3
C20:0
C20:1
C20:4 n-6
C22:4 n-6
C22:5 n-3
C22:6 n-3
SFA
MUFA
PUFA
n-6 FA
n-3 FA
n-6 FA/n-3 FA
n-3 FA/
n-3 FA
n-3 FA/
n-6 FA
n-6 FA/
n-3 FA
n-6 FA/
n-6 FA
SEM
Laying diet
effect
Growing diet
effect
Interaction
effect
4.97
0.50
0.06
20.93
2.07
6.96
42.39
20.14
4.08
0.05
0.14
1.80
0.08
0.26
0.53
28.44
44.67
26.89
22.02
4.87
4.96
5.44
0.46
0.07
21.32
2.05
7.33
40.90
22.19
2.42
0.05
0.14
2.28
0.13
0.28
0.38
29.16
43.16
27.68
24.60
3.07
8.80
5.29
0.50
0.06
21.04
2.04
7.14
41.54
20.16
4.41
0.05
0.14
1.93
0.08
0.28
0.62
28.73
43.78
27.49
22.17
5.32
4.68
5.60
0.44
0.10
21.63
2.12
7.32
40.64
22.43
2.20
0.09
0.14
2.19
0.10
0.25
0.33
29.48
43.01
27.51
24.72
2.79
9.65
1.47
0.06
0.04
0.84
0.32
0.74
2.32
1.72
1.01
0.04
0.02
0.71
0.04
0.07
0.19
1.13
2.46
1.91
2.06
1.14
2.40
0.59
0.60
0.12
0.39
0.88
0.70
0.42
0.80
0.84
0.34
0.82
0.92
0.17
0.93
0.69
0.38
0.48
0.70
0.83
0.81
0.69
0.38
0.01
0.04
0.06
0.74
0.22
0.09
0.001
0.001
0.19
0.64
0.11
0.02
0.73
0.001
0.04
0.13
0.48
0.001
0.001
0.001
0.85
0.91
0.06
0.69
0.59
0.65
0.67
0.83
0.37
0.24
0.82
0.63
0.15
0.29
0.26
0.96
0.62
0.50
0.97
0.29
0.29
FA, fatty acid; SFA, saturated fatty acids; MUFA, monounsaturated fatty acids; PUFA, polyunsaturated fatty acids.
muscles, improving the nutritional quality (increased
n-3 FA content and ratio of n-6 FA/n-3 FA lower than
5), even though administration of dietary linseed oil
and microalgae was stopped 4 weeks before slaughter.
It has been demonstrated that 2 weeks of administration of feed with a given FA composition is sufficient to
modify the FA composition of poultry muscle (Lessire,
2001). However, these observations have mainly focused
on chicken breast muscle. The thigh muscles of duck
have higher lipid content, and the FA turnover in thigh
muscles is probably lower at 12 weeks of age than that of
breast muscle, the development of which occurs mainly
during the finishing period (Baéza et al., 1999).
CONCLUSION
Providing a diet containing linseed oil and microalgae to laying ducks improved the growth performance
and reduced the feather pecking behavior of offspring.
Enrichment of starting and growing diets with n-3 FA
increased the bone ash content and improved the nutritional quality of the thigh meat. The observed improvement in behavior is promising for the welfare of
ducks, and strengthens data on the effects of maternal
diets enriched with n-3 PUFA.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
We thank DSM Nutritional Products Europe Ltd
Company for financing this study and supplying DHA
gold TM, and Grimaud Frères Sélection S.A.S. Company for the production of ducklings and for recording the laying and reproductive performance of female
ducks. We also thank the technical staff of the exper-
imental unit PEAT for rearing the ducks, particularly
O. Callut and P. Gasnier.
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