Nutritional, Behavioural and Pathological Studies on Captive Red-Necked Ostrich (Struthio camelus camelus

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Aisha El Faki Mohamed, Mohamed
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Experiments were conducted over 3 years to study performance and carcass yield of captive red necked ostrich, normal behaviour and diseases that were encountered during the period of the study and their treatments. Nine, 1-3 weeks old red-necked ostrich chicks were used to establish basic data on ostrich nutrition. Three isonitrgenous, isocaloric rations were prepared and randomly allotted to three groups of ostrich chicks. The rations were composed of plant protein sources, sorghum gluten meal 'A' sesame cake 'B' and groundnut cake 'C'. The sorghum gluten meal supplied for group 'A' served as the control ration. Feeding extended for 48 weeks during which performance parameters were recorded. At the end of the feeding period, three birds from each of groups 'A' and 'C' were slaughtered. Carcass and meat quality attributes were assessed. The final liveweight (kg) in groups B (50±3) and C (50±10.8) were similar, while the weight gain in the test groups was higher than the control (40.9±l.2). Feed conversion rates in the control group and group C were similar and lower (P > 0.05) than group B (3.07±0.06). There were significant (P < 0.05) variations in dressing-out percentages between the control (53.06±0.31) and the test group (62.42±0.20). Meat obtained was darker in colour than poultry. Meat quality parameters of selected cuts were significantly (P < 0.05) different in colour, cooking loss and shear force. The extractable protein and non-protein nitrogen contents in control and test group were essentially similar. Cholesterol content in control birds was not significant (P > 0.05) from the test group. There were also non-significant (P > 0.05) differences in the sensory evaluations among the control and test group. The behaviour of the birds under captivity was determined in the 9 red-necked ostriches of nine months old. Different behavioural patterns were observed such as feeding, foraging, drinking, sitting, walking and frequency of urination. Feeding was the most prevalent behavioural activity. The behavioural patterns were similar to those recorded in wild birds. Observations of health, clinical and clinico-chemical parameters were determined in 14 captive red-necked ostriches about 2-3 weeks old plus a commercial farm stock of 25 birds of different ages, for a period of 57 weeks. Heart rate, respiratory rate and body temperature were recorded. No age specific variation was observed in body temperature. It was not affected by ambient temperature, and remained throughout at a range of 37.5- 41.8°C. Blood parameters including Hb, PCV, RBCs and WBCs counts were also studied in healthy ostrich pertaining to different ages with resultant non significant differences (P > 0.05) among the groups. The normal values of ALP, LDH, AST, CK, total albumin, total protein, creatinine, glucose and the minerals sodium and potassium were determined in sera of birds. The changes in these parameters remained within established normal ranges and were not significant. The diseases encountered during the period of the study were diagnosed and treatment attempted. Postmortem of birds was occasionally performed. Bacterial enteritis, tapeworms and respiratory disorders were the most frequent diseases. Conjunctivitis associated with rhinitis and sinusitis showed signs of dullness, loss of appetite, head shaking, rattling and photophobia. Other infections including injury and abdominal foreign body were encountered during the period of the study. In the case of foreign body showed dullness, loss of appetite and sternal recumbence preceding death. Imbalance of Ca: P ratio was commonly associated with leg problems. Practical implications of the study were put forward with suggestions for future work.
Nutritional, Behavioural and Pathological Studies on Captive Red-Necked Ostrich