Effects of two phase protein feeding on performance of blue foxes during crowing-furring period : a field study
Koskinen,Nita; Dahlman, Tuula; Pölönen, Ilpo; Valaja, Jarmo (2005)
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The feeding trial was carried out on 172 blue foxes during growing-furring period (94 males and 78 females). The feeding trial was conducted as a field study 25.8.-11.11.2003 in private fur farm in Evijärvi, Finland (Oy Turkistarha Jussi Eilonen). The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of two phase protein feeding on growth, health and fur quality parameters of blue foxes during growing-furring period. The groups were control group and research group. Control feed contained normal protein level (recommendation of Finnish Fur Breeders Association) without amino acid supplement (commercial blue fox feed with 28 % protein of ME during 25.8.-22.9. and 25% protein of ME during 23.9.-11.11.). Research feed contained 25 % protein of ME during 25.8.-22.9 and 20 % protein of ME during 23.9.-11.11. both with supplemented methionine. The control feed was made and delivered to the farm daily. The research feed was made once a week and stored in the farm. Both groups were fed with the same amount of food daily. Animals were weight biweekly during the trial and they were pelted at the end of the trial. Pelt length (cm) and weight (g) was measured after which they were graded at the Finnish Fur Sales Company Ltd for colour, clarity, fur density, guard hair quality, coverage, quality and overall impression. The faeces were analysed for phosphorus, liquid nitrogen and total nitrogen. All blue foxes maintained good health during the feeding trial nor did high amount of cereals cause any faecal problems. No statistically significant differences between treatments were found in mean weight gain in the trial. Final average weight (per cage) was 16,92 kg in control group and 16,67 kg in research group. In the trial no statistically significant differences between treatments were found in pelt length, pelt weight, color, clarity, fur density, quard hair quality, coverage, quality and in overall impression. Phosphorus and nitrogen content of the faeces were much lower in the control group: P 8.8 and N 5.3 g/kg in research group, P 13.0 and N 9.7 g/kg in control group. In conclusion, the experiment showed that with two phase protein feeding during growing-furring period with supplemented methionine blue foxes grow normally and the pelts are similar fed with higher protein containing feed. By using less expensive raw materials such as cereals and methionine in blue fox feed the producing costs are lower. By using less protein and ash containing raw materials in feed also phosphorus and nitrogen loads are getting smaller. Although supplemental methionine is essential for normal hair priming in low protein feeds. Without adequate methionine the hair growth and the skin development is abnormal. Generally, the two phase feeding during growing-furring perioid produces healthy animals and high-quality pelts, even the effect of lower (15 % protein of ME) protein level on growth and fur properties should be studied.
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