Predicting Feed Intake of Fallow Deer (Dama Dama) Using Alkanes as a Marker

Ru, Y.J.;Miao, Z.H.;Glatz, P.C.;Choct, M.

  • Received : 2001.06.19
  • Accepted : 2001.10.04
  • Published : 2002.02.01


The understanding of seasonal forage intake of grazing deer is essential for the development of supplementary feeding strategies in southern Australia. The alkane technique is used in other animal species for estimating feed intake of individual animals and their diet composition. To assess the potential of using alkanes as a marker for predicting feed intake of fallow deer, the daily faecal recovery of alkanes and excretion rate of dosed artificial alkanes (C32 and C36) were measured with 6 deer fed three forage based diets. The artificial alkane capsule designed for use in sheep is suitable for fallow deer. Faecal samples need to be collected over days 7-19 after dosing. The daily excretion rate was 40 mg for C32 and 37 mg for C36. The faecal recovery of natural alkanes is incomplete and the faecal concentrations of alkanes need to be adjusted for an accurate estimation of intake. The actual feed intake of 6 experimental deer over a 5 day period was accurately estimated ($R^2$=0.52) using alkanes.


Fallow Deer;Feed Intake;Grazing;Alkane Capsule


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