Comparison of the Digestibility of Grain and Forage by Sheep, Red and Fallow Deer

  • Ru, Y.J. (Livestock Systems, South Australian Research and Development Institute) ;
  • Glatz, P.C. (Livestock Systems, South Australian Research and Development Institute) ;
  • Miao, Z.H. (Livestock Systems, South Australian Research and Development Institute) ;
  • Swanson, K. (Livestock Systems, South Australian Research and Development Institute) ;
  • Falkenberg, S. (Livestock Systems, South Australian Research and Development Institute) ;
  • Wyatt, S. (Livestock Systems, South Australian Research and Development Institute)
  • Received : 2001.08.27
  • Accepted : 2001.12.27
  • Published : 2002.06.01


Two experiments were conducted to compare digestibility of 12 diets in sheep, red and fallow deer. No differences (p>0.05) between sheep, red and fallow deer in digestibility of dry matter, organic matter and digestible energy content for all diets were found except for the sorghum diet and medic hay. Sheep and fallow deer digested the sorghum diet better than red deer. An in vitro study showed that sheep had a lower in vitro dry matter digestibility and digestible energy content than both red and fallow deer, with a significant interaction between animal species and feed ingredient. Deer digested straws and hays better (p<0.05) than sheep. In vitro digestibility was lower (p<0.05) than in vivo digestibility, but significantly correlated with in vivo digestibility for red and fallow deer. The in vitro method for digestibility estimation has potential as a rapid feed evaluation system for deer, but needs further validation.


Supported by : Rural Industry Research and Development Corporation(RIRDC)


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