• Estimating Seasonal Diet Quality of Pronghorn Antelope from Fecal Analysis

      Koerth, B. H.; Krysl, L. J.; Sowell, B. F.; Bryant, F. C. (Society for Range Management, 1984-11-01)
      Botanical composition of pronghorn antelope diets from fecal analysis and nutrient quality of samples of plants known to be used by pronghorn were evaluated from June 1979 to May 1980 in Oldham and Hartley counties of the Texas Panhandle. Pronghorn in this area consume forbs primarily throughout the year, followed by browse and grasses. Pronghorn exhibited an affinity for either Artemisia ludoviciana or Sphaeralcea coccinea, or both, in all seasons. Grass use was negligible. Seasonal crude protein estimates ranged from a low of 9.8% in winter to a high of 11.4% in spring. Estimates of phosphorus were lowest in winter (0.15%) and highest in spring (0.18%) corresponding to rapid plant growth. Digestible energy levels were lowest in the fall, approaching 2,227 kcal/kg, and highest in spring and summer, 2,656 and 2,631 kcal/kg, respectively. Average in vitro digestible organic matter coefficients for spring, summer, fall, and winter were 69%, 67%, 53%, and 61%, respectively. The combination of fecal analysis for botanical composition and nutrient content from samples of plants known to be ingested provides at least an estimate of nutrient content of the diet.