Effects of Housing Type and Breeding System on the Reproductive Capacity of the Red-Legged Partridge (Alectoris rufa)

Red-legged Partridge (Alectoris rufa) Science Article 1

abstract

Current methods of intensive breeding of the red-legged partridge (Alectoris rufa) are based on ‘industrial’ laying practices, including removal and artificial incubation of eggs. These procedures can alter the reproductive behavior and physiology of the birds and, therefore, may not be suitable for use in breeding programs designed to increase wild populations. This study aimed to determine the effects of intensive housing and breeding methods on the laying capacity and reproductive behavior of the red-legged partridge. In Experiment 1, 70 pairs from a commercial game farm were randomly allocated into three treatment groups and placed in differing designs of breeding cages: 8 m2 cages with solid sides (n ?30), 4 m2 cages with solid sides (n ??30), and 4 m2 cages with mesh sides (n ??10). The number of eggs laid was recorded each week. In Experiment 2, 30 pairs, placed in 30 closed 8 m2 cages, were used. Fifteen pairs were birds reared under the intensive system used on game farms, and the other 15 pairs were birds adopted by pairs of foster parents when they were less than 48 h old. The total number of eggs laid during the reproductive period was recorded.

V. R. Gaudioso, M. E. Alonso, R. Robles, J. A. Garrido, J. A. Olmedo, Poultry Science 81:169-172

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