The first days of life of the young of Galliformes precocial birds are decisive for their survival and correct development.
When the eggs are incubated by the parents themselves, they also guide the newly hatched chicks in their feeding learning process.
This is obviously not possible when the eggs are incubated artificially. The chicks have to learn to eat by themselves and this is often delayed with the consequent weakening and even death of the animal.
The importance of an early onset of feed intake for the correct development of the digestive system of these birds has been amply demonstrated.
The nutritional characteristics of neonatal food should possibly be reconsidered in relation to the diet of these birds in the wild.
In ornamental species this problem is particularly serious. For example, exotic pheasant chicks are very difficult to raise with the commercial foods currently available on the market.
This problem also seriously affects captive breeding programmes for endangered species.
This project aims to develop neonatal feeding techniques or protocols to overcome this difficulty to a greater or lesser degree.
This project aims to lay the foundations for new neonatal feeding protocols for precocial birds, with the objective of substantially improving the percentage of individuals that pass this stage. These new protocols will be based on the application of early feeding stimulation strategies. In the first phase, to carry on this study, a batch of quail eggs will be artificially incubated and the first tests will be carried out on the newborns. Depending on the results obtained with this first group, the successive stages of the study will be considered.