Influence of dietary energy level on the production of breeding ostriches
A study was conducted to determine the influence of dietary energy level on the production of breeding ostriches. Six diets varying in ME content (7.5, 8.0, 8.5, 9.0, 9.5 and 10.0 MJ ME/kg feed) were provided to both males and females at an average rate of 3.4 kg/bird/day. Dietary protein and lysine levels were held constant respectively at 120 (g/kg feed) and 5.8 (g/kg feed). The trial ran over one breeding season and production records recorded included egg production, chick production, number of infertile eggs, number of dead-in-shell eggs and weight change of breeders. No significant differences were observed for total eggs produced per female per season (44.3 ± 7.6), number of chicks hatched (15.6 ± 4.1), number of infertile eggs (11.8 ± 3.9) and for number of dead-in-shell eggs (11.9 ± 3.1). Analysis of variance revealed no significant difference in the weight change of female birds on different treatments, although regression analysis revealed an increase of 2.4 kg per female bird per 0.5 MJ increase in dietary energy value of the feed. Significant differences in the weight change of male breeders were observed which ranged between 6.3 ± 2.7 kg and 18.4 ± 2.8 kg over the breeding season. Overall, the weight of male breeders increased by 1.9 kg per 0.5 MJ increase in dietary energy content (R2 = 0.09). It was concluded that the energy supplied for both male and female breeders was in excess of their requirements, since both sexes increased in weight over the season. © South African Society for Animal Science.