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Short-term digestible energy intake in captive moose (Alces alces) on different diets


Clauss, Marcus; Kohlschein, Gina-Marie; Peemöller, Andreas; Hummel, Jürgen; Hatt, Jean-Michel (2013). Short-term digestible energy intake in captive moose (Alces alces) on different diets. Zoo Biology, 32(5):484-489.

Abstract

Moose (Alces alces) are regularly described as problematic animals in captivity, mainly because of their particular digestive physiology and resulting feeding demands. According to the literature, moose regularly reject non-browse forages offered in captivity, which may indirectly lead to an overproportional ingestion of easily digestible feeds and thus chronic acidosis, which may in turn be the cause of their low life expectancy in captivity. By feeding experiments in four animals, this study aimed at testing whether maintaining moose on roughage-only diets appears feasible. The diets used consisted of the typical zoo ration with mixed feeds (including alfalfa hay), and exclusive diets of alfalfa hay, combinations of alfalfa hay and grass hay, alfalfa hay and grass hay and dried browse leaves, and dried browse leaves only. Whereas results confirmed that moose do not ingest grass hay in relevant amounts, digestible energy (DE) intake on alfalfa hay was, at 0.67 ± 0.15 DE MJ kg-0.75 d-1, above the estimated maintenance requirement of 0.6, and higher on the browse diets. At least for short-time periods, results contradict previous reports in the literature that alfalfa hay only is not a suitable maintenance diet for moose. At the same time the results promote feeding moose in captivity forage-based diets.

Abstract

Moose (Alces alces) are regularly described as problematic animals in captivity, mainly because of their particular digestive physiology and resulting feeding demands. According to the literature, moose regularly reject non-browse forages offered in captivity, which may indirectly lead to an overproportional ingestion of easily digestible feeds and thus chronic acidosis, which may in turn be the cause of their low life expectancy in captivity. By feeding experiments in four animals, this study aimed at testing whether maintaining moose on roughage-only diets appears feasible. The diets used consisted of the typical zoo ration with mixed feeds (including alfalfa hay), and exclusive diets of alfalfa hay, combinations of alfalfa hay and grass hay, alfalfa hay and grass hay and dried browse leaves, and dried browse leaves only. Whereas results confirmed that moose do not ingest grass hay in relevant amounts, digestible energy (DE) intake on alfalfa hay was, at 0.67 ± 0.15 DE MJ kg-0.75 d-1, above the estimated maintenance requirement of 0.6, and higher on the browse diets. At least for short-time periods, results contradict previous reports in the literature that alfalfa hay only is not a suitable maintenance diet for moose. At the same time the results promote feeding moose in captivity forage-based diets.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinary Clinic > Department of Small Animals
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
630 Agriculture
Language:English
Date:2013
Deposited On:25 Oct 2013 06:58
Last Modified:20 Dec 2016 08:08
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:0733-3188
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/zoo.21080
PubMed ID:23801273

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