Determining nitrogen requirements of hornbills

Zoo Biology, volume 27, issue 4, 2008
Over 2 months, seven feeding trials were conducted at St. Catherines Island, GA, to quantify protein intake and utilization in captive mature nonreproducing Aceros (n=3 spp.) and Buceros (n=2 spp.) Hornbills.
The birds were fed homogeneous isocaloric diets. A mixture of Bird of Paradise pellets, grapes, and raisins was offered to the birds as grape-sized balls, supplemented with diced cantaloupe melon to maintain hydration. To vary the protein level (range 10.8-22.6%) within the diets, different amounts of a powdered soy protein supplement were added to the mixture. Test diets were fed for 3 consecutive days. Birds were weighed to test for differences among diets. All excreta and diet samples were collected for nitrogen (N) analysis. Feeding trials were separated by a 4-day period, in which the bird's regular diet was fed. Data were analyzed for N balance, N equilibrium (regression of N intake vs. N excretion) and body mass. Regression analysis of N balances of the nine birds showed that the N equilibriums ranged from 0.081 to 0.595 g N/kg0.75/d with an average of 0.387±0.298. No differences in N balances were found between Aceros and Buceros hornbills. The methodology of this study suggested a dietary crude protein (CP) requirement of 7.3±3.0% dry matter (DM) in a diet containing 4.0 kcal. However, this value was determined by extrapolation and has not been experimentally determined to be adequate. In this study, the hornbills maintained body mass on a diet containing 10.8% CP (with energy at 4.0 kcal/g DM).

Title: Determining nitrogen requirements of Aceros and Buceros hornbills

Authors: Sijmen G. Foeken, Max de Vries, Elisabeth Hudson, Christine D. Sheppard, Ellen S. Dierenfeld