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Effects of feeding chopped hay with supplemental concentrate on the performance of slaughter ostrichs
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The United States commercial ostrich industry is transitioning from a breeder to slaughter market. Therefore, least cost production of the ostrich is essential. Currently, most ostrich producers feed nutritionally complete pelleted diets, but interest in pasture-grazing ostriches is increasing due to cost concerns. This study was designed to determine the effects of feeding chopped hay with a concentrate supplement on commercial ostriches destined for slaughter. Thirty ostriches, (4-6 months of age), blocked by age, weight, and source were allocated into two treatments, three replications per treatment. The ostriches in the control treatment were fed a typical United States nutritionally complete pelleted ostrich diet (crude fiber--8.2%). The ostriches in the experimental treatment were fed a coastal bertnudagrass and alfalfa hay mixture with a concentrate supplement (crude fiber> 1 4%). The control ostriches (I 13.2 kg) reached slaughter weight (1 13 kg) faster (P < 0.05) and at a younger age (365 days) as compared to the experimental ostriches (98.2 kg; 441 days). The control ostriches had a higher rate of gain per week (2.45 kg) as compared to the experimental ostriches (1.23 kg). The gastrointestinal tract was heavier (P < 0.05), full and empty, in the experimental ostriches (20.01, 7.44 kg) compared to the control ostriches (12.23, 6.07 kg). Colon length was longer (P < 0.05) in experimental ostriches (I 0.45 m) than the control ostriches (9.26 m) due to the high fiber in the diet. Abdominal circumference was the best predictor of body weight for all ostriches in this study (R =.809). Dressing percent averaged 50.3% for the control and 46.5% for the experimental ostriches. There were no significant differences in knife separable lean between the control (38.1 kg) and experimental (34.2 kg) ostriches. However, knife separable fat was higher in the control (5.80 kg) than the experimental (0.75 kg) ostriches. Based on total feed costs per kilogram of weight gain, the complete pelleted diet ($2.13) was more cost effective than the experimental diet ($4.26), but total lean relative to live body weight was higher in the experimental (34.8%) compared to the control ostriches (33.7%).
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Includes bibliographical references: p. 87-91.
Issued also on microfiche from Lange Micrographics.
Baltmanis, Beth Ann (1996). Effects of feeding chopped hay with supplemental concentrate on the performance of slaughter ostrichs. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from
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