Intake and digestion of horned guan diets measured in three Mexican zoos

Source: Zoo Biology 2009, volume 28, issue 4
We conducted nutritional analyses of diets offered to and ingested by seven pairs of horned guans in three zoos. Digestibility was calculated with individually housed birds (n=1 at each zoo).
Diets offered varied widely among institutions, both in ingredients fed as well as in nutrient composition. Feeding selectivity was evident through differences in composition of diets offered vs. consumed, with fruit (bananas, grape, and/or plantain) and avocado (when offered) highly preferred; green leaves, poultry pellets, and other vegetables comprised lesser proportions of the diet. All facilities fed 2-3X more food than consumed, allowing a great degree of choice of preferred items and potentially consumption of nutritionally imbalanced diets - in particular, mineral constituents. Diets were highly digestible; dry matter (DM) digestion coefficients ranged from 70 to 90%; protein digestibility varied from 30 to 80%; fat was >90% digestible. Diet composition was compared with known nutritional requirements of domestic avian species, and feeding recommendations discussed. Despite the wide variability in nutrient composition of diets eaten (i.e. protein 6-10% of DM; fat 2-17% of DM), no overt health problems were noted and all pairs had successfully reproduced on these diets. It is suggested that horned guans (Oreophasis derbianus) may have nutrient requirements more similar to those suggested for other frugivorous birds than values determined for poultry as the physiologic model. Comparisons with native food items, as well as more detailed nutrient balance studies, may provide even better guidelines for captive management of this highly endangered species.

Title: Intake and digestion of horned guan Oreophasis derbianus diets measured in three Mexican zoos

Authors: Gretel Tovar, Juan Cornejo, Michael Macek, Ellen S. Dierenfeld