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Length of the artificial incubation in red-legged partridge (Alectoris rufa)

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Authors: P. González-Redondo, R. Gutiérrez-Escobar, R. Díaz-Merino, P. Panea-Tejera y A.R. Martínez-Domínguez
Issue: 108-3 (289-297)
Topic: Animal Production
Keywords: Alectoris rufa, red-legged partridge, artificial incubation, game farming, egg

The artificial incubation of the eggs is a key management phase for the feasibility of the red-legged partridge (Alectoris rufa) game farms. However, the length of the artificial incubation and the spreading pattern of the hatching have not been previously quantified in this species. To this end, four trials of artificial incubation of eggs from three red-legged partridge game farms located in southern Spain were analised. The trials included a wide range of variability with regard to management of breeders and incubation process. The average length of the incubation period was 23.4 days, with differences among trials (P = 0,004), showing a modal value of 23 days. Most of the chicks (percentile 95) hatched before 24.5 days of incubation. The distribution of the hatch was leptokurtic and showed positive asymmetry, fitting with the hatching pattern of the precocial species. The hatching, that can start on day 21.5 and finish on day 26 of incubation, were spread over four days on average. This period was longer than that described in the informative literature, probably because in the present study the eggs were not in contact with each other, which could have limited the hatching synchrony. The results of the present study are useful to understand the distribution of hatching in the red-legged game farms, enabling improved management of the batches of eggs in the hatchery.

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