Growth rate and thermoregulation in reared king quails (Coturnix chinensis)

Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol. 2005 Jan;140(1):101-9. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpb.2004.11.008.


Growth rate was investigated in king quails between 1st and 60th day of life. Gompertz growth constants were 0.075 in males and 0.056 in females. Colonic temperature (Tb) was measured in quails divided into four age groups (1-3, 7-10, 16-19, and 44-59 days old) in ambient temperatures set separately for each group. Metabolic rate was measured only in 44-59-day-old birds. The mean value of the thermoneutral body temperature (Tb at TNZ) in the active phase in the youngest quails was 39.0 degrees C. In 44-59-day-old quails, the resting metabolic rate in the thermoneutral zone (RMR at TNZ) was on average 9.44 mW g(-1) (1.66 cm3 O2 g(-1)h(-1)), without sex-specific differences. No such differences were found in this age group neither in Tb at TNZ, nor in minimal thermal conductance (Cmin). However, differences were found in the rate of metabolic heat production below the thermoneutral zone, even when mass-independent units were used. The maximum metabolic rate (Mmax) in 2-month-old males was 34.08 mW g(-1) (5.98 cm3 O2 g(-1)h(-1)), while in females 29.73 mW g(-1) (5.21 cm3 O2 g(-1)h(-1)). Heat-stressed 44-59-day-old quails elevated their Tb to as much as an average 44.1 degrees C in Ta of about 45 degrees C. The obtained growth model and a gradual development of the body temperature regulation mechanism in king quails followed the known strategy of development, typical for precocial birds. The sexual size dimorphism in the studied quails did not result in differences in thermoregulation parameters between the sexes, except for the rate of metabolic rate below thermoneutral zone.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Basal Metabolism / physiology
  • Body Temperature / physiology
  • Body Temperature Regulation / physiology*
  • Coturnix / growth & development*
  • Coturnix / metabolism
  • Coturnix / physiology
  • Female
  • Male
  • Sex Factors
  • Thermal Conductivity