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Maintenance nitrogen requirements of adult female ostriches (Struthio camelus)

Bennett, D. C., Kaneko, A., Karasawa, Y.
Journal of animal physiology and animal nutrition 2012 v.96 no.4 pp. 600-609
adults, crude protein, diet, drying, energy intake, farming systems, ingredients, metabolizable energy, neutral detergent fiber, nitrogen, nitrogen balance, nutrient requirements, nutrition knowledge, ostriches
Successful ostrich farming requires knowledge of the nutritional needs of the birds. While much information is available on the nutritional value of various feed ingredients fed to ostriches, there is little known about their specific nutrient requirements. In this study, we measured the maintenance nitrogen requirements (MNR) of ostriches by nitrogen balance. We predict, based on the previous analysis of nitrogen requirements of various species of birds, that ostriches would have a MNR of 13.6–19.1 g N/day and a total endogenous nitrogen loss (TENL) of 2.8–5.1 g N/day. Three adult female ostriches were fed five pelleted diets containing 0.6–2.3% N [4–14.6% crude protein (CP)], 17.5 kJ/g gross energy (11.4 kJ/g ME) and 30% neutral detergent fibre. Each dietary trial consisted of a 10‐day adaptation period, followed by a 5‐day total excreta collection period. Body mass (109 ± 3 kg) and metabolizable energy intake (20.5 ± 0.7 MJ/day) were unaffected by dietary nitrogen levels. After correcting for excreta nitrogen losses during drying, MNR was calculated to be 481 mg N/kg0.75/day or 16.2 g N/day (100 g CP/day), and TENL as 310 mg N/kg0.75/day or 10.5 g N/day. Failure to correct for the 10.9 ± 4.1% average N losses during drying would underpredict the ‘true’ MNR by 35% and TENL by 46%. Our estimate for MNR of ostriches predicts a dietary requirement of 6.7% protein. Our estimate of TENL was nearly twice that predicted, possibly reflecting the high fibre content of their diet.