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Journal of the South African Veterinary Association

versão On-line ISSN 2224-9435
versão impressa ISSN 1019-9128


BRAND, TS; KRUGER, A  e  THERON, PG. The effect of different dietary flavourants and salt levels on feed intake of juvenile ostriches. J. S. Afr. Vet. Assoc. [online]. 2022, vol.93, n.2, pp.1-7. ISSN 2224-9435.

Yearly the ostrich industry loses up to 40% of newly-hatched chicks, partly due to insufficient feed intake. This study was conducted to determine whether the inclusion of various feed flavourants would improve feed intake in ostrich chicks (Trial 1). Ninety-six day-old ostrich chicks were raised in groups of 12 at a Western Cape research farm until 28 days of age. These chicks were provided with free-choice access to a variety of flavoured diets, namely sweet, sour, bitter, salt or an unflavoured control diet. Chicks were found to prefer salty feed, as the salt-flavoured diet had the highest daily feed intake (34% of total) throughout the trial. Subsequently Trial 2 was conducted to determine the preferred level of dietary salt (Experiment 1) as well as the influence dietary salt had on various production parameters (Experiment 2). In Experiment 1, three groups of seven chicks each were offered ad libitum access to diets containing 4 g/kg, 14 g/kg, 24 g/kg, and 34 g/kg of salt respectively. Experiment 1 found that chicks preferred the diet containing 14 g salt/kg (36.4% of total daily feed consumed). For Experiment 2, 56 birds were divided into eight groups of seven. Conversely to the current conventional inclusion of 4 g salt/kg, Experiment 2 showed that chicks reared on a diet containing 14 g salt/kg had a 41.7% higher average daily gain than the group consuming 4 g salt/kg. It can therefore be concluded that ostriches prefer diets with a higher dietary salt level than current conventional diets provide (14 g/kg vs 4 g/kg).

Palavras-chave : dietary salt level; feed flavourants; feed preference; ostrich rearing; palatability; ratites.

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