• Nutritive Content of Sheep, Goat, and White-tailed Deer Diets on Excellent Condition Rangeland In Texas

      Bryant, F. C.; Kothmann, M. M.; Merrill, L. B. (Society for Range Management, 1980-11-01)
      A one-year study was initiated in August, 1975, to examine the nutritive content in diets of four kinds of sympatric ruminants on excellent condition rangeland of the Edwards Plateau in Texas. Sheep, Angora goat, and Spanish goat diets were collected from animals fitted with permanent esophageal cannulae. Nutritive content of white-tailed deer diets was estimated by hand-plucking representative forages as the deer were observed grazing them. Mean, annual levels of crude protein (CP) were similar among the four kinds of animals. All diets were lowest in CP during January and February, with livestock diets showing higher levels than deer. However, deer diets were higher in CP than sheep and goat diets during spring and summer. During January and February, the livestock diets warranted only minimum protein supplementation while deer diets were significantly below recommended levels. Digestible energy (DE) levels were higher for sheep diets than for diets of either goats or deer. Similarly, the goat diets were higher in DE than deer diets. The DE levels were generally adequate for sheep but critically low for Angora goats during late gestation. Deer diets were very low in DE during winter and again in early summer, coinciding with the period of peak lactation. Energy would appear to be more limiting for animal production than protein under the conditions of this research.