Forage Intake and Nutrient Requirements of Fallow Weaner Deer in Southern Australia

  • Ru, Y.J. (Livestock Systems, South Australian Research and Development Institute) ;
  • Fischer, M. (Livestock Systems, South Australian Research and Development Institute) ;
  • Glatz, P.C. (Livestock Systems, South Australian Research and Development Institute) ;
  • Wyatt, S. (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)
  • Received : 2002.07.15
  • Accepted : 2003.02.18
  • Published : 2003.05.01


Information on nutrient requirements and forage intake of fallow weaner deer is required for the development of feeding strategies during the year. An experiment was conducted in which 60 fallow weaner deer (grazing on medic and ryegrass based pastures) were supplemented with a concentrated diet at three levels. The diet contained 2% minerals, 30% lupin and 68% barley grain. Twelve deer from each treatment were dosed with commercial alkane capsules in May, June, July, September and October to predict nutrient intake. The relationships between body weight gain and intake of metabolisable energy and crude protein were established using a general linear models analysis. Dry matter intake from pastures ranged from 0.137 kg to 0.304 kg in May and June and increased to 1.2 kg in October. Nutrient intake from pastures was strongly influenced by amount of supplementary feed and gender. Digestible energy intake from pastures was 1.3, 3.8 and 6.1 MJ/day higher for males than females in July, August and October, respectively. The protein and energy intake was strongly correlated with body weight gain. The energy requirement for maintenance were 7.3, 8.2, 10.2, 10.2 and 10.7 MJ DE/day and the DE required for each kg body weight gain were 19, 18, 29, 34 and 49 MJ in May, June, August and October, respectively. The protein requirement for maintenance was 12.2, 12.6, 15.0, 11.4 and $8.5g/W^{0.75}$ in May, June, July, August and October, respectively. The nutrient requirement defined from this study can be used to assist farmers to explore the possible pasture and stock management practices under southern Australian conditions. However, further research is required to develop rapid and cheap methods for estimating dry matter intake, nutritive value of pastures and to quantify the potential growth rate of fallow deer in southern Australia.


Supported by : Adelaide University


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