• Digestibility of an arboreal lichen by mule deer

      Robbins, C. T. (Society for Range Management, 1987-11-01)
      Arboreal lichens are commonly consumed by wintering cervids in temperate forests, but their nutritional value is poorly understood. The digestibility of an arboreal lichen (Alectoria sarmentosa) fed with alfalfa pellets to mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) was estimated. The lichen contained 2% crude protein, 13.4% neutral detergent fiber (NDF), and 0.9% acid detergent fiber (ADF). Apparent digestibilities were very high for lichen dry matter (85.2%), NDF (91.9%), and cell solubles (84.2%). The apparent digestibility of protein was very low (-218.0%) and reflects the impossibility of balancing MFN losses with a forage containing such minimal nitrogen. This lichen can be an important source of energy to wintering cervids.