Fiber digestibility and nitrogen requirements of blue duikers (Cephalophus monticola)

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
Lisa A. Shipley, Laura Felicetti
Zoo Biology
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Abstract 10.1002/zoo.10025.abs We examined the energy and protein requirements, and the fiber and protein digestive capacity, of a small African ruminant, the blue duiker (Cephalophus monticola), by conducting a series of complete balance digestion trials with three captive male blue duikers feeding on fruits, leaves, forbs, grass, and pelleted diets ranging from 9.4% to 49% neutral detergent fiber (NDF), and 2.5% to 30% crude protein. The diets also varied in tannin levels. On these diets, for which indigestible acid detergent lignin (ADL) comprised 5–20% of NDF, blue duikers digested NDF as well as did larger ruminants. With a metabolic fecal nitrogen (MFN) of 2.6 g N/kg dry matter consumed and endogenous urinary N (EUN) of 194 mg/kg0.75/d, the duikers required 643.3 mg N/kg0.75/d. Therefore, if food intake is unrestricted, duikers require a minimum protein content in their diet of about 4%. MFN and N requirements were lower than those of many other ruminants. The protein-precipitating capacity of tannins found in forages used in this study did not reduce the digestibility of the neutral detergent solubles (NDS) and NDF, but significantly reduced protein digestion. However, this reduction appears to be less than that experienced by larger ruminants. Small ruminants, such as the blue duiker, seem to be able to handle lower-quality diets than expected for their size. Zoo Biol 21:123–134, 2002. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.


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