Royal antelope (Neotragus pygmaeus) are among the smallest ungulate species and are browsing ruminants. To date, their capacities for fiber fermentation and nutrient digestion have not been quantified. This study compared apparent digestibilities of a typical high-fiber herbivore pellet (ADF 25) and a low-starch, high-fiber diet (WHP) in royal antelope in a crossover design (seven subjects in the first period and four in the second). Animals on ADF 25 pellets had greater intake concentrations (P < 0.05) of dry matter, crude protein, lignin, and crude fat; however, animals fed the WHP diets had greater (P < 0.05) apparent digestibility of dry matter, acid detergent fiber, neutral detergent fiber, and crude fat. Identifying the capacity to which these smaller ruminants can degrade fiber will help to establish more appropriate feeding guidelines for small, browsing ruminants in captivity.
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