Title:  Effects of dietary energy and protein on physical and physiological indices of nutritional condition in adult female white-tailed deer.
Author(s): Hellgren, E. C., M. Abbott, R. L. Bingham, R. D. Brown.
Year: 1991
Abstract: Several physical and physiological indices have been used to assess white-tailed deer (Odocoileus vir~nianus)n utritional condition and habitat quality. The objective of this study was to describe the response of several indices to long-term protein and energy intake. Fifty-one adult does were captured in south Texas and placed in captivity at Texas A&I University. Deer were randomly assigned to 4 diet groups representing a factorial combination of 2 levels each of protein and energy and maintained on these diets for 6 months. At the end of the experimental period, deer were sacrificed and assessed for nutritional status with serum @ = lo), rumen (IJ = 4), fecal (1! = 5), fat @ = 7). and carcass &I = 7) indices. Significant @ < 0.05) protein-energy interaction effects were observed for serum calcium, serum phosphorus, serum urea nitrogen, sewn creatinine, rumen cell walls, estimated rumen digestible energy, fecal cell walls, fecal crude protein, and fecal dry matter. Results of 2-way analyses of variance and stepwise discriminant analysis suggested nutritional indicators in all index categories (e.g. fat, rumen, fecal) sensitive to dietary protein intake, dietary energy intake, or protein-energy combinations. Multiple indicators are recommended to assess deer herd condition and habitat quality. However, because multiple indices may not be available depending on management objectives and resources, this study provided variables in each index category that discriminated between nutritional levels.

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