Title:  Prediction of recent diet from physiological and physical indices in white-tailed deer - preliminary results.
Author(s): Brown, R. D. and M. Abbott.
Year: 1985
Abstract: An experiment was designed to determine if recent diets could be predicted from carcass, rumen, fecal, and blood indices in deer. Sixty-nine white-tailed (Odocoileus virginianus) does were captured in mid-October, 1983. The deer were divided into 9 groups and held in pens varying in size from 1 to 4 ha. After a period of adjustment, the deer were offered diets of high (18%), medium (13%), and low (7%) protein and high (3MCal/kg), medium (2.2MCal/kg) and low (l.SMCal/kg) energy, and all possible combinations. After 60 days, the deer were sacrificed. The deer were then eviscerated and weighed, and blood, rumen, fecal, and organ samples were taken and frozen. Rumen and fecal samples were later analyzed for crude protein (CP), cell walls (CW), cell contents (CC), and dry matter (DM). Carcass variables included eviscerated carcass weight, skinned carcass weight, carcass length, kidney fat index (KFI), total perirenal fat (TPF), renal fat (RF), back fat thickness, femur marrow fat (FMF), mandible marrow fat (MMF), kidney weight, adrenal weight, thymus weight, and reproductive status. Blood serum was analyzed by SMA 12 and RIA for T3 and T4. Results indicated that CP of unwashed rumen contents did not vary with dietary protein. Rumen CW and CC varied with dietary energy, irrespective of dietary protein. Fecal CP did not vary with dietary protein, but fecal CP, CW and CC varied with dietary energy. Of the carcass variables, KFI, TPF, and RF varied with dietary energy, and MMF varied with dietary protein. Of the blood variables, BUN varied with dietary protein regardless of energy level, whereas glucose and alkaline phosphatase varied with dietary energy, but only on the low protein diets. Triiodothyronine varied with dietary energy, but not all diets. Preliminary results are that unwashed rumen contents cannot be used to predict dietary protein, BUN is still the most reliable blood index for predicting dietary protein, and rumen and fecal CW and CC can be used to predict dietary energy. An 8-month study presently is underway to determine long-term effects of such diets.

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