Seasonal Variation In Food Consumption And Weight Gain In Male And Female White-Tailed Deer

Feeding trials, in which ten white-tailed deer fawns, five bucks and five does, were fed a balanced ration, were conducted over an 18-month period. The commercially available ration which contained not less than 13.0 per cent protein or 2.0 percent crude fat and not more than 9.5 percent crude fiber or 4.8 percent minerals was fed ad libitum. Daily food consumption of each deer was recorded to the nearest ounce and weight of each deer was determined at weekly intervals to the nearest pound. Analysis of the data indicated that seasonal variation in food consumption and body weight of the experimental deer was statistically significant at the one percent level of probability. Sex by season interaction in food consumption was highly significant. Buck deer averaged 10 percent weight loss and doe deer averaged a three percent weight loss during the second winter of the study. Decrease in food consumption and corresponding weight loss during the winter seem to be associated with the physiological changes which occur in sexually mature white-tailed deer during the breeding season.

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