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Polyunsaturated fatty acids n-3: a beneficial effect on pecking behavior and growth of ducklings!

Ducklings issued from female ducks fed a diet enriched with n-3 FA had higher body weight, lower feed conversion ratio for the growing period and lower reactivity to stress, reducing the frequency and the gravity of feather pecking of offspring. Moreover, diets enriched with LC PUFA n-3 and distributed during the starting and growing periods had positive effects on bone mineralization of ducklings and FA composition of meat.

Ducklings. © INRA, INRA
By Sylvie André
Updated on 09/20/2018
Published on 07/17/2018

Effect of polyunsaturated fatty acids n-3 provided during embryonic development and starting and growing periods on pecking behaviour of Muscovy ducks In rearing, ducks can express unwanted behaviours such as nervousness and feather pecking. Numerous studies realised with humans and rodent models showed a positive effect of long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids n-3 (LC PUFA n-3) on the brain development and functioning.

The aim of this trial was to test the possibility of decreasing the pecking behaviour of Muscovy duck in rearing by providing LC PUFA n-3 during embryonic and/or post hatch development of ducklings. The enrichment of eggs and thus embryos in LC PUFA n-3 was realized by feeding female ducks with a diet containing docosahexaenoic (DHA) and linolenic acids (microalgae and linseed oil). A control group of female ducks was fed with a diet containing linoleic acid (soya oil). After hatching, starting and growing diets were also either enriched with DHA and linolenic acid, or with linoleic acid.
Several behaviour tests were realized between 1 and 3 weeks of age to analyze the adaptation capacity of ducklings. The growth performance, time budget, social interactions, feathering kinetic and pecking behaviour, were regularly recorded during the rearing period of ducklings.

We found no significant interaction between the two factors. Ducklings issued from female ducks fed a diet enriched with n-3 FA had higher body weight at D0, D28 and D56, lower feed conversion ratio for the growing period and lower reactivity to stress than ducklings issued from female ducks fed a diet enriched with n-6 FA. The enrichment with LC PUFA n-3 of diet distributed to female ducks reduced the frequency and the gravity of feather pecking of offspring. Moreover, diets enriched with LC PUFA n-3 and distributed during the starting and growing periods had positive effects on bone mineralization of ducklings and FA composition of thigh muscles measured at 84 days of age.

Contact(s)
Scientific contact(s):

Associated Division(s):
Animal Physiology and Livestock Systems
Associated Centre(s):
Val de Loire

References

E. Baeza, P. Chartrin, T. Bordeau, M. Lessire, J.M. Thoby, V. Gigaud, M. Blanchet, A. Alinier, C. Leterrier (2017). Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids n-3 provided during embryonic development improve the growth performance and welfare of Muscovy ducks (Cairina moschata). Poultry Science, 96 (9), 3176-3187.

E. Baeza, P. Chartrin, T. Bordeau, M. Lessire, J.M. Thoby, V. Gigaud, M. Blanchet, A. Alinier, C. Leterrier (2017). Effet des acides gras polyinsaturés n-3 apportés au cours du développement embryonnaire et des périodes de démarrage et croissance sur le comportement de picage des canards de Barbarie. 12èmes Journées de la Recherche Avicole et des Palmipèdes à Foie Gras, Tours (France), 5-6/04/17, 423-427.

E. Baeza, P. Chartrin, T. Bordeau, M. Lessire, J.M. Thoby, V. Gigaud, M. Blanchet, A. Alinier, C. Leterrier (2017). Effect of polyunsaturated fatty acids n-3 provided during embryonic development and starting and growing periods on pecking behaviour of Muscovy ducks. Xth European Symposium on Poultry Welfare, Ploufragan (France), 19-22/04/17, 61-62.

E. Baeza, P. Chartrin, T. Bordeau, M. Lessire, J.M. Thoby, V. Gigaud, M. Blanchet, A. Alinier, C. Leterrier (2017). Effect of polyunsaturated fatty acids n-3 provided during embryonic development and starting and growing periods on pecking behaviour of Muscovy ducks. 6th World Waterfowl Conference, Taipei (Taiwan), 22-25/10/17, 90.