Dry matter intake of South American camelids and its effects on the composition of feed rations
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The number of South American camelids (SAC) is increasing in Germany since decades. Due to a lack of scientifically based publications the knowledge about feeding SACs is still poor. Therefore, the aim of this study was to estimate the dry matter intake (DMI) of SACs as a basis for calculations of feed rations. Previous studies proposed a DMI of up to 3% of the body weight (BW) (Vaughan und Gauly, 2011). In the present study, eight llamas (Llama glama) were allocated to two groups of four animals each. The two groups were fed with hay of different qualities over a total period of ten weeks, which was divided into two runs of five weeks each. During the first run, group 1 was fed with hay 1(15.1% crude protein; 8.5% crude ash; 3.1% crude fat; 52.6% NDF per kg DM) and group 2 with hay 2 (6.6% crude protein; 6.2% crude ash; 2.1% crude fat; 64.3% NDF per kg DM). After five weeks the groups were changed and group 1 received hay 2 and group 2 received hay 1. BW was measured at the start and end of each run (week zero, five and ten). The hay quality affected the DMI, but the animals did not compensate a lower feed quality with an increased DMI. The total DMI was 1.26% and 0.89% of the BW for hay 1 and hay 2, respectively, which was lower than expected in both groups. In conclusion, calculations of feed rations for SACs should be adjusted to the present findings of a lower DMI capability.