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Estimation of apparent metabolizability in herbivorous wildfowl with plant pigments



Estimation of apparent metabolizability in herbivorous wildfowl with plant pigments



Journal of Wildlife Management 60(4): 910-916



If the feeding habitat requirements of herbivorous wildfowl are to be understood completely, then knowledge of plant metabolizability is essential. Use of a suite of plant pigments or chromogen as a naturally occurring indigestible marker to estimate apparent metabolizability (AM) in free-ranging herbivorous wildfowl is assessed as a simple, inexpensive, and potentially accurate method. The analytical procedure is described and 3 stages identified as possible areas that could give rise to inconsistent AM estimates. These stages were examined accordingly and as a result the following recommendations made: (1) food and fecal samples collected in the field must be frozen quickly, (2) samples to be analyzed should be freeze-dried, not dried in an oven or vacuum oven, and (3) light must be excluded from the chromogen extracts once in solution. Once the procedure had been verified, AM of cut grass eaten by a captive brent goose (Branta bernicla) was measured directly (by measuring ingestion and egestion) and indirectly (by measuring chromogen concentrations in freeze-dried food and fecal samples). Results of AM given by the 2 methods were in close agreement. Recovery of chromogen in the feces was 101.3 +- 11.2% (mean +- SD, n = 3) indicating that chromogen can be used to estimate AM for free-ranging geese and herbivorous ducks, but variation was high and sample size small and so further trials would be valuable to consolidate this result.

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Accession: 008625419

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DOI: 10.2307/3802392


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