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European Journal of Wildlife Research

, Volume 54, Issue 4, pp 701–708 | Cite as

Influence supplementary feeding on bark browsing by red deer (Cervus elaphus) under experimental conditions

  • M. RajskýEmail author
  • M. Vodňanský
  • P. Hell
  • J. Slamečka
  • R. Kropil
  • D. Rajský
Original Paper

Abstract

The effect of various supplementary feeds on bark browsing was studied in red deer under controlled conditions. Fifteen female red deer were randomly assigned to five dietary treatments (n = 3 animals each): meadow hay as a control (C), combinations of meadow hay with grass silage (GS), maize silage (MS), maize silage with oats (MSO) or a pelleted concentrate (PC). The deer were kept in enclosures where we offered fresh spruce stems daily. The experiment consisted of two periods. In the first period (A), the animals had free access to food during 24 h, while in the second period (B), the access was restricted to night hours only. In both periods, the supplementary feeds were available ad libitum. Mean daily consumption of browsed bark in the control group in period A was 1,053 g while in the remaining groups it ranged from six to 20 g. In period B, simulating the conditions in disturbed hunting areas, bark consumption in all groups increased considerably, the highest increase being found in groups GS (430 vs. 19 g/day) and MS (101 vs. 6 g/day). In period A, the highest dry matter (DM) intake including browse was found in group MS (2,816 g/day) and the lowest one in group GS (2,307 g/day). In period B, the highest (2,763 g/day) and the lowest (2,153 g/day) DM intake was observed in groups PC and MSO, respectively. If red deer is fed supplementary, meadow hay should be combined with maize silage, grass silage or concentrate to reduce bark browsing in forests. The bark browsing rate may increase considerably if red deer are disturbed or their grazing cycle is impaired.

Keywords

Red deer Winter bark browsing Supplementary feeding 

Notes

Acknowledgement

The authors wish to thank the State Forests of the Slovak Republic, Forest Enterprise Topoľčianky, and Forest Enterprise Námestovo for help and cooperation in gaining the biomass; chemical laboratory of the Institute for Animal Nutrition for performing a large number of laboratory analyses; Prof. Dipl. Ing. A. Sommer, DSc. and Dipl. Ing. P. Petrikovič, PhD. for helpful consultancy.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Rajský
    • 1
    Email author
  • M. Vodňanský
    • 1
  • P. Hell
    • 1
  • J. Slamečka
    • 2
  • R. Kropil
    • 3
  • D. Rajský
    • 3
  1. 1.Middle European Institute of Wildlife Ecology Vienna, Brno, NitraNitraSlovak Republic
  2. 2.Slovak Agricultural Research CentreNitraSlovak Republic
  3. 3.Faculty of ForestryTechnical University in ZvolenZvolenSlovak Republic

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