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A study of feeding types and certain rumen functions in six species of South African wild ruminants

  • D. Giesecke (a1) and N. O. Van Gylswyk (a2)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 March 2009

In order to characterize the rumen digestive physiology of South African wild ruminants investigations were made on a total of 35 individuals of six species killed in various regions during the dry season.

In buffalo, blue wildebeest and gemsbok grasses constituted 85–100% and in impala, springbok and kuduless than 10% of the diet. In the case of the latter three species effects of the habitat and of predilection for certain plant materials were apparent.

Compared with the grazers, the species feeding mainly on plant material other than grass were characterized by a smaller physiological capacity of the rumen reticulum, higher counts of ciliate protozoa and ‘large bacteria’, higher levels of rumen ammonia and higher molar proportions of rumen propionate and valerate. Within these feeding types differences between species were indicated.

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The Journal of Agricultural Science
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