Behavioral Study of Mule Ducks with Subclinical Muscular Dystrophy under Ecological Comfort and Stress Conditions

1 Trakia University, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, BG - 6000 Stara Zagora, Bulgaria
2 IISS, Agricultural Academy, BG – 1113, Sofia, Bulgaria
3 Agricultural University, Faculty of Animal Breeding, BG - 4000 Plovdiv, Bulgaria
4 Trakia University, Agricultural Faculty, Student campus, BG - 6000 Stara Zagora, Bulgaria


BOZAKOVA, N., K. STOYANCHEV, S. POPOVA-RALCHEVA, N. GEORGIEVA, V. GERZILOV and E. VALKOVA, 2012. Behavioral study of mule ducks with subclinical muscular dystrophy under ecological comfort and stress conditions. Bulg. J. Agric. Sci., 18: 511-518

The purpose of the study was to trace behavioral changes of mule ducks during the alimentary induction and treatment of subclinical muscular dystrophy (MD) under conditions of environmental comfort and stress. The study included 40 Mule ducks, divided into 4 groups: group I - control healthy mule ducks, reared under ecological comfort; group II - control healthy mules under ecological stress conditions, group III – mules with provoked MD (MD-mules), under ecological comfort conditions and group IV - MD-mules under stress ecological conditions.
The mule duck behavior was recorded for four consecutive days by video cameras for 12 hours a day: from 58 to 61 days of age (at the beginning of subclinical MD) and from 68 to 71days of age (4 days after the end of treatment). During the subclinical MD significantly differences in mule behavior were found in water intake, in gregarious and aggressive behavior of birds reared under different conditions. In MD-mules, reared under stress conditions less number of standing (P < 0.01), moving (P < 0.05) and feather cleaning birds (P < 0.05) was recorded compared to MD-mules under comfortable conditions. This confirms the aggravating role of stress conditions on the locomotor activity and subclinical course of MD in mule ducks.
The behavioral differences betwееn MD-mules and control mules under comfortable conditions disappeared four days after the end of the MD- treatment. Simultaneously the number of standing (P < 0.05) and bathing (P < 0.01) MD-mules was lower than that in healthy controls reared under stress conditions. A greater number water drinking birds (P < 0.001), more aggression (P < 0.01) and less standing birds (P < 0.001) were registered in treated MD-mules under stress conditions compared to those under comfort conditions, which confirms the poor locomotor activity and healthy state in treated under stress conditions mule ducks.

Key words: mule ducks, behavior, locomotor activity, mule ducks, subclinical muscular dystrophy, ecological comfort and stress conditions

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