Lahore- Although chicken is the major source of meat and eggs inPakistanbut efforts are being made for exploiting other suitable economical sources for the production of meat and eggs. Towards this end, quail farming seems to be the most promising and one of the best alternate sources for production of meat and eggs.

This was revealed in a research paper, conducted by a scholar, Jibran Hussain for his Ph.D thesis, who hopes the new research would bring a great revolution in avian industry. The research is supervised by Dr Muhammad Akram, Chairman Department of Poultry Production UVAS.

Jibran Hussain, who is also a lecturer at Avian Research and Training (ART) Centre, told The Nation that he conducted a research on improvement in three-week body weight in Japanese quail through different techniques of selective breeding and has got very promising results in this regard.

His research paper reveals that Japanese quail (Coturnix Coturnix Japonica) is a type of popular commercial line which is known as “betair” inPakistanand has certain specific advantages. The quail can be used for meat production within a very short period of time (4-5 weeks) and mature at an early age of 6 weeks.

While informing about the situation of quail farming inPakistan, the researcher maintained that quail farming possess enormous potential but remained as one of the neglected components of poultry sector in the country. About 4 decades back, breeding stock of hybrid Japanese quail with good genetic potential for excellent growth performance, better egg production, egg quality and hatching traits as compared to local quail called “Betair” was imported in the country. But unfortunately, genetic potential of this imported quail has been deteriorated due to continuous inbreeding/uncontrolled breeding. At the same time no serious attempt was made to improve the genetic potential of the native quails.

This very poor situation of quail farming in the country brought about a challenge to the researchers from theUniversityofVeterinaryand Animal Sciences,Lahore, to adopt all the strategies to make this meat production system economical and commercially viable.

While unveiling the details of his study, the researcher informed The Nation that day old body weight in generations 1 was about 6.68g which raised up to 7.80 gm in generation three. The same was the trend in 1st and 2nd week body weight that showed an increasing pattern. The most promising results were observed in three week body weight that increased from 104 gram to 116 gram after two generations of selection. Caloric and protein intake per gram body weight gain also decreased with the advancement in generations. As the generations progressed, selective breeding showed positive impact regarding mortality rate as it reduced significantly from 1st to 3rd generation.

While concluding the results of his research, Jibran said that selective breeding in quail is quite successful and can also be multiplied in other avian species in order to improve their production performance in our local environmental conditions.