The Effect of a Diet of Winter Pasture Grasses on Growth of White-Tailed Deer Fawns

In the winters of 1971, 1972, and 1973 st udy groups of white-tailed deer fawns (Odocoileus virginianus) were fed rations of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), oats (Avena sativa L.), and winter ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.), respectively, in prder that the effects on growth might be determined. During each eight-week study period, fresh rations were cut and fed daily to individually-penned animals. Analysis of variance showed highly significant differences (P<.01) between rations, both for consumption and body weight gain. Average daily consumption of wheat was 6.0 pounds as compared to 6.5 pounds for oats and 7.6 pounds for ryegrass. Fawns fed wheat averaged a weight gain of2.5 pounds over the study period. Fawns fed ryegrass and oats, however, averaged weight losses of 3.0 pounds and 4.7 pounds, respectively, over the same period.

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