Apparent Mineral Absorption by White-tailed Deer

Two completely randomized design studies were conducted from May 1986 through June 1987 with white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) to determine seasonal mineral absorption patterns of guajillo (Acacia berlandieri) and a pelleted diet. The pelleted diet contained 0.56% phosphorus (P), 2.57% calcium (Ca), 0.31% magnesium (Mg), 2.25% sodium (Na), 1.63% potassium (K), 9.6 ppm copper (Cu), 45.0 ppm zinc (Zn), and 314.8 ppm iron (Fe). Calcium and P from the pelleted diet were absorbed in a 2:1 ratio. There were no seasonal differences in mineral absorption of the pelleted diet. The data indicate mineral absorption patterns of white-tailed deer eating a pelleted diet are not different from cattle. Mineral concentrations of guajillo varied seasonally. Absorption of P, Ca, Mg, Na, K, Cu, Zn, and Fe from guajillo also varied seasonally. Phosphorus concentrations in guajillo followed active plant growth patterns but were below recommended levels for proper white-tailed deer growth. Phosphorus and Zn absorption were negative in all seasons indicating absorption problems or the difficulty of balancing metabolic P and Zn losses with a forage containing small amounts of these 2 minerals.

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