Predicting In Vivo Dry Matter, Energy, and Protein Digestibility of Deer Forages

We investigated 4 in vitro digestion procedures to estimate dry matter, energy, and apparent protein digestibilities of 2 southern Texas white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) forages. Standard 2-stage rumen inoculum technique consistently underestimated in vivo dry matter digestibility by 1% to 9%, but could be corrected to in vivo values by regression analyses (R2 = 0.89). This technique also predicted digestible energy (kcal/g) and digestible protein (g/100g feed) accurately (R2 = 0.84 and 0.71, respectively). Cellulase, pepsin, or multienzyme techniques did not predict dry matter, energy, or protein digestibility accurately or consistently.

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