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Nutrition consultation in zoo animals using ration calculation
Life and Agriculture Sciences Journal (LASJ), Volume 2, Sep 2017

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In our nutrition consultation service, computer aided ration calculation is employed to check feed rations for pet animals as well as livestock in order to diagnose possible nutritional impact on certain health problems and to optimize rations. For some species specialised software is available and employed. Otherwise, if specialised software is lacking, mostly table calculation programs such as MS Excel are used to compare energy and nutrient intake with the recommended intake. The same approach is used when rations of exotic and zoo animals are scrutinised. Based on data sets from common databases of feedstuffs and information from literature, nutrient composition of feedstuffs is adjusted to species specific values whenever possible, for example data for the apparent digestibility of dry matter and / or proximates in that species are used to estimate the energy content of the diet. The nutrient supply of the actually fed ration is compared with the requirement. If necessary, the composition and/or the amount of used feedstuffs are changed in order to fit better to the species specific and individual needs as well as the preconditions of the zoo (availability of the feedstuffs). Even though requirement figures are limited in various species and approximation is often necessary, formulating recommendations that way often proves effective, especially in case of frequent monitoring and adaptation of the diet if required. To exemplify, the approach will be displayed at The paper using a case of weight loss necessity in rhinos and a check-up of mineral supply in elephants.

Author(s): B. Dobenecker, F. Wendel, C. Gohl, N. Kowaleski, A. Knieriem
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