Mercuric chloride (HgCl2) was tested at 16 p.p.m. Hg for vitamin D sparing activity by presenting it dietarily in the presence and absence of 25-hydroxycholecalciferol (25-HCC) to Japanese quail (Coturnix c. japonica) for 25 days. No gross signs characteristic of mercury poisoning were observed, but some predictable effects of vitamin D deficiency on avian reproduction were manifested within 10 days. Rate of lay, egg shell thickness, and hatchability of fertile eggs decreased markedly for birds on vitamin D-deficient diets. Shell-less eggs were laid by these birds after 20 days and laying stopped entirely on the 23rd day. Laying resumed within 5 days after diets were refortified with 25-HCC. There was no detectable interaction between HgCl2 and vitamin D.
Additional publication details
Reproductivity of Japanese quail fed mercuric chloride in the absence of vitamin D