A TECHNIQUE FOR ESTIMATING DRY MATTER INTAKE OF TAME FREE-RANGING MOOSE
Forage intakes of two free-ranging moose (Alces alces) where estimated during July, 1983 and of one moose in January, 1984. Dysprosium (Dy), an inert digestive marker, was given orally to each animal twice daily for twelve days; feces were collected during the last five days for determination of marker concentrations which provides an estimate of total fecal output. During the winter trial, one animal received a pulse dose of Dy for estimation of turnover time of particulates in the rumen. Daily dose and mean fecal concentration of Dy were used to estimate total fecal output while digestibility of the selected diet was determined by in situ nylon-bag digestion from a simultaneous study. Daily dry matter intake was estimated to be 145 g/kg BW0.75 during July and 40 g/kg BW0.75 during January. These values ranged 7% lower to 10% higher than dry matter intake's estimated using the ratio or bite-count methods. However, this technique obviates the logistic difficulties of total fecal collections and bite-counts during continuous 24 hour scans. The estimated rumen turnover time of Dy-labelled feedstuff during January was 31.3 hr.
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