Effects of Dietary Protein Level on Dry Matter Intake, and Production and Chemical Composition of Velvet Antler in Spotted Deer Fed Forest By-product Silage

  • Jeon, B.T. (Korea Nokyong Research Center, Konkuk University) ;
  • Kim, M.H. (Korea Nokyong Research Center, Konkuk University) ;
  • Lee, S.M. (Dept. of Anim. Sci., Sangju National University) ;
  • Moon, S.H. (Korea Nokyong Research Center, Konkuk University)
  • Received : 2005.09.26
  • Accepted : 2006.03.15
  • Published : 2005.12.01


The aim of this study was to provide basic information to allow improved nutritional management for velvet production by investigating the effects of dietary protein levels on dry matter intake and production and chemical composition of velvet antler in spotted deer (Cervus nippon). Twenty-four spotted deer stags were assigned to 4 unreplicated groups, Control (15% CP in diet, higher dry matter), CP10 (10% CP), CP15 (15% CP) and CP20 (20% CP). The velvet antlers were harvested from each stag on the 55th day after casting of the buttons from the previous set, measured for their size and weight, and the chemical composition of each antler was determined in three sections (top, middle, and base). Dry matter (DMI) and crude protein (CPI) intake were highest (p<0.05) for the Control and increased progressively (p<0.05) with increasing dietary protein level. Although not significant, mean length and girth of the main antler beam tended to be larger in either left or right beam with increasing protein level in the diet, longest in CP20 and shortest in CP10. Velvet antler production was lowest in CP10 and highest in CP20, which differed significantly (p<0.05). Only negligible differences were found between groups in chemical composition. It is concluded that dietary protein clearly influenced dry matter intake and velvet antler production, whereas there was comparatively little effect of dietary protein on chemical composition of antler in spotted deer.


  1. AOAC. 1990. Official Methods of Analysis(15th ed.). Association of Official Analytical Chemists. Washington, DC., USA
  2. Cowan, R. L. and T. A. Long. 1962. Studies on antler growth and nutrition of white-tailed deer. Paper No. 107 Pennsylvania Cooperative Wildl. Res. Unit. pp. 54-61
  3. Fennessy, P. F. and J. M. Suttie. 1985. Antler growth: Nutritional and endocrine factors. In: Biology of deer production. (Edl. P. F. Fennessy and K. R. Drew). Royal Society of New Zealand bulletin 22:239-250
  4. Fennessy, P. F. 1995. Deer and deer farming-The New Zealand Experience. In: Biotechnology in the feed industry. (Ed. T. P. Lyons and K. A. Jacques). Proc. Alltech's 11th Annual Symp. Nottingham Univ. Press. pp. 157-173
  5. Forbes, T. J. and N. Jackson. 1971. A study of the utilization of silages of different dry-matter content by young beef cattle with or without supplementary barley. J. Br. Grassl. Soc. 26:257-264
  6. French, C. E., L. C. McEwen, N. D. Magruder, R. H. Ingram and R. W. Swift. 1956. Nutrient requirements for growth and antler development in the white-tailed deer. J. Wildl. Manage. 20:221-232
  7. Geist, V. 1986. Super antler and pre-World War II European research. Wildl. Soc. Bull. 14:91-94
  8. Joo, J. W., G. S. Bae, W. K. Min, H. S. Choi, W. J. Maeng, Y. H. Chung and M. B. Chang. 2005. Effect of protein sources on rumen microbial protein synthesis using rumen simulated continuous culture system. Asian-Aust. J. Anim. Sci. 18:326- 331
  9. Kay, R. N. B. and B. W. Staines. 1981. The nutrition of the red deer (Cervus elaphus). Nutritional abstracts and reviews-series B 51:601-622
  10. Muir, P. D. and A. R. Sykes. 1988. Effect of winter nutrition on antler development in red deer (Cervus elaphus): a field study. NZ. J. Agric. Res. 31:145-150
  11. Blaxter, K. L., R. N. B. Kay and G. A. M. Sharman. 1974. Farming the red deer. The 1st report of an investigation by the Rowett Res. Inst. and the Hill Farming Res. Org. Dept. Agric. Fisheries for Scotland, Edinburgh. pp. 42-47
  12. Suttie, J. M., J. R. Webster, R. P. Littlejohn, P. F. Fennessy and I. D. Corson. 1996. Increasing velvet production by improved nutrition. Deer Branch of the New Zealand Vet. Asso. Procd. of a deer course for veterinarians. 13:149-153
  13. McEwen, L. C., C. E. French, N. D. Magruder, R. W. Swift and R. H. Ingram. 1957. Nutrient requirements of the white-tailed deer. Trans. N. Am. Wildl. Conf. 22:119-132
  14. Murphy, D. A. and J. A. Coates. 1966. Effects of dietary protein on deer. Trans. North Am. Wildl. Nat. Resour. Conf. 31:129-139
  15. Sim, J. S. 1987. Use of traditional medicines in Korea-Deer antlers. In Focus on a New Industry; Proceedings of the Alberta Game Grower's Association Conference, (Ed. L. A. Renecker). pp. 68-70
  16. Forbes, J. M. 1986. The voluntary food intake of farm animals. Butterworth & Co. Ltd. London
  17. Pearse, A. J. and P. F. Fennessy. 1991. Optimal velvet antler production in wapiti and red deer. In: Wildlife production: Conservation and sustainable development. (Ed. L. A. Renecker and R. J. Hudson). Agric. For. Exper. Stat. Univ. Alaska Fairbanks, Alaska. pp. 548-556
  18. Sunwoo, H. H. 1995. Chemical composition of antlers from wapiti (Cervus elaphus). J. Agri. Food Chem. 43(11):2846-2849
  19. Chapman, D. I. 1975. Antlers-bones of contention. Mammal review. 5:122-172
  20. Lee, B. Y., H. O. Lee and H. S. Choi. 2003. Analysis of food components of Korean deer antler parts. Kor. J. Food Sci. Technol. 35(1):52-56
  21. Hyvarinen, H., R. N. B. Kay and W. J. Hamilton. 1977. Variation in the weight, specific gravity, and composition of the antlers of red deer. Br. J. Nutr. 28:301-311
  22. Haigh, J. C. and R. J. Hudson. 1993. Farming wapiti and red deer. Mosby-Year Book, Inc. St. Louis, Missouri. pp. 149-153
  23. Goering, H. K. and P. J. Van Soest. 1970. Forage fiber analysis (Apparatus, Reagents, Procedure and some Application). Agricultural Hand Book No. 379. Agricultural Research Services. USDA, Washington, DC
  24. Liang, F., Q. Wang and T. Wen. 1993. Deer feeding for velvet production. The 4th ARRC International Symposium. pp. 115- 122
  25. Pearse, A. J., J. M. Suttie and I. D. Corson. 2000. Velvet antler production- Improved nutrition and management. Proc. Asia Aust. Anim. Prod. (C):51-53
  26. Fennessy, P. F. 1989. Velvet antler production: Feeding and breeding. In: Proc. 14th Annual New Zealand Deer Farmers' Assoc. Conf. pp. 15-17
  27. Jeon, B. T., S. H. Moon and R. J. Hudson. 2003. Effect of dietary protein level on velvet antler production in red deer (Cervus elaphus). Kor. J. Anim. Sci. 45(4):577-584
  28. Muir, P. D., A. R. Skyes and G. K. Barrell. 1987. Growth and mineralisation of antlers in red deer (Cervus, elaphus). NZ J. Agric. Res. 30:305-315
  29. Okamoto, M. 1974. Studies on the ruminating behavior and the digestive physiological significance of rumination. Bullt. Hokaido Agric. Exper. Stat. 30:1-72
  30. SAS. 1995. SAS user's guide. SAS Inst., Inc., Cary, NC.
  31. Ullrey, D. E. 1983. Nutrition and antler development in whitetailed deer. In: Antler development in Cervidae. (Ed. R. D. Brown). Proc. 1st Intern. Symp. Caesar Kleberg Wildl. Res. Inst. Colleg. Agric. Texas A & I Univ. Kingsville, Texas. pp. 49-59

Cited by

  1. Prediction of Water Content in Game Trophies by near Infrared Reflectance Spectroscopy vol.15, pp.6, 2007,
  2. Effects of growth stage and position within the beam in the structure and chemical composition of sika deer (Cervus nippon) antlers vol.52, pp.1, 2012,
  3. Nutrition of antler growth in deer vol.56, pp.6, 2016,