The influence of different dietary energy concentrations on the production parameters of feedlot ostriches
CITATION: Brand, T. S., et al. 2018. The influence of different dietary energy concentrations on the production parameters of feedlot ostriches. South African Journal of Animal Science, 48(1):162-169, doi:10.4314/sajas.v48i1.18.
The original publication is available at http://www.sasas.co.za
Energy is essential for the continuous survival of any living organism. In ostrich diets, energy is usually derived from maize, which is often subject to fluctuations in yield as a result of drought conditions. Therefore, the optimal utilization of energy in the diets of ostriches becomes of paramount importance, but without affecting the performance of the birds negatively. This study was conducted to investigate the influence of five treatment diets, each with a different energy concentration, on the growth performance of 300 slaughter ostriches. Three replications per treatment resulted in 15 camps of ostriches being fed through the four feeding phases from pre-starter to starter, then grower, and finally finisher. A high mortality rate was experienced during the pre-starter phase, while the chicks were still young. Significant differences were found among the live weights of the birds after the pre-starter phase, with birds that consumed the middle diet (Diet 3) being the heaviest, at an average of 22.3 ± 0.33 kg. However, by the end of the trial, these differences were not significant. This was reflected in the production parameters, namely dry matter intake (DMI), average daily gain (ADG) and feed conversion ratio (FCR). Differences were found only in the pre-starter phase in ADG, with Diet 3 displaying the highest gain per day of 216.0 ± 8.08 g. Thus, in this study, dietary energy above and below the predicted optimum (Diet 3) seemed to have little influence on the performance of the ostriches, but results may have been affected by the above-average mortalities.