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dc.contributor.authorMuir, Paul David
dc.date.accessioned2009-09-03T23:23:04Z
dc.date.available2009-09-03T23:23:04Z
dc.date.issued1985
dc.identifier.urihttps://hdl.handle.net/10182/1178
dc.description.abstractThe experiments described in this thesis investigated nutritional and physiological aspects of antler growth in red deer stags. The initial experiment (Section 3) examined the effects of winter nutrition on subsequent antler casting date and velvet antler weight. Mature stags on two different farm types (hill country, Farm H and irrigated lowland, Farm L) were offered three levels of winter nutrition, two levels of a concentrate supplement (ad libitum pellets and 1/2 ad libitum pellets) and a basal hay ration. On both properties liveweight gains occurred in supplemented groups and liveweight losses in unsupplemented groups. At antler casting there were significant differences in liveweight of approximately 10 kg between fully supplemented and unsupplemented groups. Realimentation of winter liveweight losses subsequently occurred so that by the following rut the effects of winter undernutrition had been eliminated. On Farm H poor winter nutrition (hay only) resulted in a significant delay in casting date (13 days) and lower velvet antler yields (0.24 kg), than in stags offered the ad libitum concentrate ration. Stags on Farm H were 13 kg lighter at commencement of the trial than at Farm L and the differences in treatment effects obtained between farms may have been due to differences in body condition at commencement of the trial. An association was demonstrated between liveweight and date of antler casting, with heavier stags casting earlier than lighter stags. There was no effect of age of stag on casting date. Of the liveweights recorded, liveweight prior to the rut showed the best relationship with casting date, possibly because the seasonal nature of liveweight change meant that a weight recorded at this time gave the best indicator of the true frame size of a stag. Both age and liveweight significantly affected velvet antler weight, with increases of velvet antler weight of 0.26 kg between 3 and 4-year-old stags and of 0.30 kg between 4 and 5-year-old stags at the same liveweight. Within an age group velvet weight increased by 0.12 kg for each 10 kg increase in pre-rut liveweight. The experiments described in Section 4 comprised studies on antler growth and composition. In order to obtain data on antler growth and composition individual antlers were removed sequentially from mature red deer stags between 28 and 112 days after casting of hard antlers. Contralateral antlers were removed after stripping of velvet. Wide variation occurred in antler casting date (53 days) compared to date of velvet stripping (24 days). The duration of the period of antler growth may therefore be governed more by date of casting than by date of velvet stripping. Mean duration of the antler growth period was 164 days. Growth in length of the antler appeared to follow a sigmoid curve. However, between 28 and 112 days after casting, rates of elongation were close to linear. Mean length of hard stripped antlers was 0.71 m and between 28 to 112 days after casting mean rate of antler elongation was 0.62 cm/day. Over this period indivdual antlers increased in fresh weight at a rate of 13.7 g/d, with heaviest weight recorded 112 days after antler casting, at approximately 130% of final hard antler weight. Between 28 and 91 days of growth, volume of blood in the antler increased linearly at a rate of 194 ml/kg. Three phases of mineralization were demonstrated in developing antlers. Tips of growing antlers were cartilaginous and poorly mineralized. A zone of mineralization occurred 5.0 to 7.5 cm behind the antler tip which corresponded histologically to the transition from mineralized cartilage to trabecular bone. The second phase of mineralization occurred through continued accretion of trabecular bone in the antler shaft. The third phase, described as "terminal mineralization" in this study, appeared to be associated with a rapid increase in density of cortical bone in the periphery of the antler shaft. Terminal mineralization (between 91 and 112 days after casting of hard antlers) coincided with the slowing of growth in length, a decrease in relative blood volume in the antler and an increase in levels of plasma testosterone. These events occurred close to the summer solstice. At velvet stripping individual antlers had a mean weight of 1.12 kg and contained 81.1% dry matter (DM). Fat free organic matter (FFOM) and ash concentration in DM were 36.6 and 60.0%, respectively. Peak daily rates of FFOM and ash deposition occurred between 91 days and 112 days after casting, at rates of 1.4% of hard antler FFOM and 1.6% of hard antler ash. For a stag producing 2.24 kg of hard antler mean rates of FFOM and ash deposition over this period were 9.3 and 18.3 g/d, respectively. On a whole antler basis calcium concentration in antler ash remained constant, at around 35%. Therefore peak rate of antler calcium deposition would be 6.4 g/d. In the final experiment (Section 5) mature stags were offered a maintenance ration of greenfeed oats during the period of peak calcium requirement for antler growth and the kinetics of calcium metabolism were examined using a radio-isotope (⁴⁵Ca). Rates of faecal endogenous loss were low and at approximately 6.4 mg/kg BW per were half the estimated requirements of ARC (1980) for sheep and cattle. Availability of calcium from greenfeed oats was low (mean, 37%) and less than 30% of total calcium requirements were derived from the diet. Poorly mineralized skeletal bones indicated that the shortfall in antler calcium was derived from the skeleton. In spite of a severely negative calcium balance stags were capable of maintaining high and apparently normal rates of antler calcium deposition (mean, 44 mg/kg BW per day). Antlers appear to be acting as a sink with calcium being irreversibly deposited in the antler and lost to the animal's body. On the assumption therefore that antler calcium behaves like calcium lost during lactation a kinetic model of calcium metabolism in the stag was developed.en
dc.language.isoenen
dc.publisherLincoln College, University of Canterburyen
dc.rights.urihttps://researcharchive.lincoln.ac.nz/page/rights
dc.subjectred deeren
dc.subjectCervus elaphusen
dc.subjectantlersen
dc.subjectnutritionen
dc.titleStudies on the growth and compositional development of antlers in red deer (Cervus elaphus)en
dc.typeThesisen
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Canterburyen
thesis.degree.levelDoctoralen
thesis.degree.nameDoctor of Philosophyen
dc.subject.marsdenFields of Research::300000 Agricultural, Veterinary and Environmental Sciences::300400 Animal Production::300403 Animal nutritionen
dc.subject.marsdenFields of Research::300000 Agricultural, Veterinary and Environmental Sciences::300400 Animal Productionen
lu.thesis.supervisorSykes, A. R.
lu.contributor.unitDepartment of Agricultural Sciencesen


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