The diet of Sub Saharan Africans has been noted to contain low levels of protein compared to those in the first world. This situation has affected the proper growth of children who are malnourished and the health of adults living under poverty line. Quails are small birds currently widely spread throughout the world. They are potential source of a much needed animal protein since their eggs and meat have been categorized as high quality animal products. These hardy and small bodied birds can be easily produced as a backyard venture by families living both in the villages and towns since they occupy small space, and are resistant to many diseases that attack chicken and other poultry birds. The biggest challenge in production of these birds is the cost of feeds which is the largest contributor to the cost of production. Quails diet, like for chicken and other domesticated birds, is based on cereal grains and nuts which include; maize, soybean meal, groundnut cake, soybean meal, sorghum, millet and rice or wheat bran as the most commonly used plant products for feeding quails. Unfortunately, these are low in essential amino acids (methionine and lysine) which are important constituents in quail diet calling for inclusion of expensive animal protein sources such as fish meal, meat meal, blood and bone meal. The high cost of these alternative protein sources is a major hindrance for their inclusion in the preparation of quail feed. Grasshoppers (Ruspolia nitidula) have been reported to contain 36–40% protein and can serve as cheap sources of protein in quail diet. Their inclusion in the diet of Japanese quails is comparable to using fish meal with 50% of fishmeal potentially replaceable by grasshopper meal without affecting growth, optimum meat and egg production or fecundity.
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RUFORUM Working document series
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