Chemical composition and fermentation characteristics of feedstuffs for giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis) in German zoos

The aim of the study was to evaluate the nutritive value of feedstuffs for giraffes in zoos. In total, 196 samples of six categories of forage (n = 111) and eight categories of non-forage feedstuffs (n = 85) were analysed for chemical composition and in vitro gas production (GP). Lucerne hay as main forage source showed a stable average quality (mean ± standard deviation: crude protein 179 ± 19 g · kg–1 dry matter (DM); metabolizable energy 8.9 ± 0.6 MJ · kg–1 DM) and its fibre fraction content was the most similar to browse leaves. Depending on the type, browse showed large variation in composition and fermentation. Supplementation of polyethylene glycol as tannin-binding agent, led to a significant increase of GP in leaves and bark. According to application, non-forage feeds differed in energy and crude protein contents, and fibre fractions. The chemical composition and GP of dehydrated lucerne pellets were very similar to lucerne hay, whereas other compound feeds were balanced. Characteristics of sugar beet pulp would ensure a beneficial fermentation when compared to other high-energy feedstuffs. A dietary substitution of fruits and vegetables with sugar beet pulp led to less distinct peaks in the theoretical GP of whole rations over 24 h. Available nutritive recommendations for giraffes in captivity were generally confirmed; however, the protein delivering capacity of lucerne hay was suspected to be undervalued. Comprehensive analyses of leaves and bark resulted in additional information on temperate browse.

Publish DateApril 19, 2021
Last UpdatedApril 19, 2021