Influence of winter feed restriction and summer compensation on skeletal development in red deer stags (Cervus elaphus)

Suttie, J.M.; Wenham, G.; Kay, R.N.

Research in Veterinary Science 36(2): 183-186


ISSN/ISBN: 0034-5288
PMID: 6718818
DOI: 10.1016/s0034-5288(18)31976-3
Accession: 001213240

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The influence of 2 planes of nutrition (unrestricted and 70% restricted during the winter) on skeletal development as illustrated by the metacarpus was studied in 12 red deer stag calves. At approximately 3-monthly intervals from January 1978 when the stags were 7 months old, until August 1979 when the stags were 26 months old, radiographs of the right metacarpus were taken. Growth in length was complete by August 1978. There were no differences in length between the unrestricted and restricted stags at that time. Differences in breadth, area and cortical bone index were maintained throughout the study although differences in area of mineralised bone were the only measure significantly different throughout the study. It is considered that the major influence of plane of nutrition on this index of skeletal development in deer is on breadth and thickness of cortical bone, resulting in a weaker bone of the same length in the winter-restricted stags.