A comparison of digestion in red deer and sheep under controlled conditions
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Three red deer hinds and three sheep were given rations of chopped or pelleted hays. The deer apparently digested dry matter and cellulose a little less well than the sheep. Digestibility of nitrogen did not differ. In two pairs of animals fitted with rumen cannulas the volume and outflow of rumen fluid was greater in the deer than in the sheep. The pH and the concentrations of total and individual volatile fatty acids and of ammonia in the rumen fluid varied during the feeding cycle in much the same way in the deer and sheep. The rumen fluid of the deer seemed to be a little less well buffered than that of the sheep.It is concluded that digestive processes in the deer, as far as revealed in these experiments, quite closely resemble those in the sheep, though certain small differences may exist.