EFFECT OF DIETS WITH HIGH METHIONINE LEVELS ON GROWTH PERFORMANCE, HEALTH STATUS, NUTRIENT DIGESTIBILITY AND NITROGEN RETENTION IN ARCTIC FOXES
A. Gugołek1*, T. Wyczling1, J. Strychalski1, D. Kowalska2, M. Konstantynowicz1 and C. Zwoliński1
1Department of Fur-bearing Animal Breeding and Game Management, Faculty of Animal Bioengineering, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Oczapowskiego 5, 10-718 Olsztyn, Poland; 2Department of Animal Genetic Resources Conservation, National Research Institute of Animal Production, Balice n. Kraków, Poland
*Corresponding author’s email: email@example.com
The aim of the present experiment was to evaluate the influence of diets with high methionine content on growth performance, health status, nutrient digestibility and nitrogen balance in Arctic foxes (Vulpeslagopus). The experimental materials consisted of 120 blue Arctic foxes divided into three equal groups. Control group (C) animals were fed diets with standard methionine content. Diets for experimental groups E1 and E2 were supplemented with liquid methionine at 3 and 6 g kg-1 fresh matter. The following parameters were determined in the study: body weight, body conformation, feed intake, length of the rearing period. Blood was sampled for hematological and serum biochemical analyses. Pelt quality was evaluated. Two digestibility trials were performed. It was found that diets with increased methionine content improved the growth performance of Arctic foxes. Increased dietary methionine concentrations had no negative influence on the health status of foxes, and they supported protein digestibility and nitrogen retention. However, the highest dietary methionine level (6 g kg-1 fresh matter) in group E2 did not lead to a further improvement in the analyzed parameters, compared with the methionine content of diets fed to group E1 animals.
Keywords: digestibility, health status, methionine, nitrogen retention, pelt quality, Vulpeslagopus.