CZAAWE Resource Article

Digestibility of timothy hay by African elephants
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
Zoo Biology
Abstract 10.1002/zoo.1430080403.abs Two juvenile, female African elephants (Loxodonta africana) were used in summer and winter trials to determine the apparent digestibility of timothy (Phleum pratense) hay. After 12–14 days of dietary adjustment, dry matter intake and fecal excretion were quantitatively measured for 7 days. Dry matter of timothy hay contained 8.6 and 7.7% crude protein, 57.3 and 44.0% acid detergent fiber, and 6.5 and 6.4% ash during the summer and winter trials, respectively. Estimates of apparent digestibility during summer and winter, respectively, were 39 and 35% for dry matter, 43 and 32% for gross energy (GE), 45 and 30% for crude protein (CP), and 36 and 24% for acid detergent fiber (ADF). While GE and CP digestibility estimates tended (P < .09) to be greater in the summer trial, only the digestibility of ADF was different (P < .05) between summer and winter. Dry matter intake was 1.4–1.6% of body weight (BW), providing an average of 144 kcal of digestible energy per kg BW0.75. This value is similar to that (155 kcal per kg BW0.75) used for estimating digestible energy requirements for maintenance of light-breed horses.