British Poultry Science vol:49 issue:2 pages:96-102
1. Changes in the relative weights of carcase, abdominal fat, breast and leg muscles, and plasma thyroid hormone concentrations occurring during the first 6 weeks of postnatal growth were analysed in males of HG and LG lines divergently selected for high and low relative body weight (BW) gain between 11 and 28 d of age, respectively, and constant adult BW. 2. The second week of postnatal life was a critical age at which the HG males exhibited a relatively faster growth in comparison to their LG counterparts and permanently exceeded LG males in the percentage by weight of carcase, breast and leg muscle. A higher production of muscle tissues was associated with lower accumulation of abdominal fat before sexual maturity. 3. In general, the plasma T(3) level of HG quail exceeded that of LG quail. Nevertheless, significant differences were found only at 14, 21 and 28 d of age, that is, in the period during which the highest inter-line differences in relative growth rate were noted. Also the T(3)/T(4) ratio followed a similar trend while plasma T(4) level showed no clear and consistent inter-line differences. 4. The results suggest that the selection for the shape of the growth curve, like the selection for body fat, modifies the carcase quality owing to shortening/prolongation of the acceleration growth phase. Individuals with a short acceleration phase of the growth curve are characterised by low carcase quality during the fattening period.