The objective of this study was to investigate the development of the weight and the morphological development of the small intestine in Yangzhou geese. The weight, length and perimeter of the small intestine, height and width of the villi, depth of the crypts were measured when geese were 1, 14, 28, 42, 56 and 70 days of age. The results revealed that the weight of the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum (relative to the BW) increased, peaked on day 14 and tended to decline thereafter with age. The weight of the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum (relative to the BW) kept steady-going on 56, 42, 42 days, respectively. A 3-fold increase in length and 2-fold increase in perimeter for the three segments during the period were obtained. The duodenum increased little in length, whereas both jejunum and ileum increased 2 and 3-folds from 1 to 70 days examined. The increase in perimeter of the duodenum, jejunum and ileum was greater from day 1 to 14 than from day 14 to 28. The length and perimeter of the intestinal segments of the gastro-intestinal of Yangzhou geese (relative to the BW) peaked on day 1, then decreased with age and kept steady-going on 42 days, except the relative perimeter of the duodenum. The villus height, surface area and crypt depth in the small intestine were positively correlated with the age of the geese. The ratio of the villus height to the crypt depth (V/C) differed among the segments of the small intestine and at the different time points. The V/C in the ileum increased from day 1 to 70, whereas in the duodenum the ratio first decreased, then rose and descended. However, in the jejunum the ratio increased first, then dropped and rose again, and descended eventually.
Key words: Geese, small intestine, morphology.
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