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Egg characteristics in relation to skipped days of laying in the Grey Partridge

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Birds sometimes skip a day along the sequence of egg laying, which may vary the mass or the composition of delayed eggs compared with those that were laid consecutively. Our literature review shows that this has been interpreted as a short-term adaptation that enables females to overcome energetic constraints during the laying period, but other hypotheses implying the influence of weather, pollution, or hormonal cycles have also been proposed. We collected freshly laid Grey Partridge Perdix perdix eggs to determine the effects of laying gaps on egg characteristics. Egg shape, as well as egg components (beta-carotene, avidin and lysozyme concentrations) did not vary in relation to skipped days. Eggs were slightly heavier when one or two days were skipped (0.72% and 0.45%, respectively). However, when examining the hatching rate, we found a significant decrease in relation to skipped days, hence eggs following laying gaps showed a lower hatching rate than other eggs. The pattern observed could indicate the presence of some physiological stress that caused females to skip one or two days and to lay eggs that hatched less.
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Keywords: AVIDIN; BETA-CAROTENE; EGG MASS; LAYING GAPS; LYSOZYME; SHAPE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 December 2017

This article was made available online on 27 September 2017 as a Fast Track article with title: "Egg characteristics in relation to skipped days of laying in the Grey Partridge".

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  • Avian Biology Research provides a forum for the publication of research in every field of ornithology. It covers all aspects of pure and applied ornithology for wild or captive species as well as research that does not readily fit within the publication objectives of other ornithological journals. By considering a wide range of research fields for publication, Avian Biology Research provides a forum for people working in every field of ornithology. The journal also includes sections on avian news, conference diary and book reviews.

    Editor-in-Chief: Charles Deeming Editors: Tom Pike; Dale Sandercock; Claudia Wascher; Josh Firth; David Wilkinson; Jim Reynolds Production Editor: Claire Pike

    Cover image: Satyr Tragopan (Tragopan satyra). Credit: jurra8/Shutterstock.com.

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