Elk (Cervus elaphus ssp.) are becoming increasingly popular as a terminal sire for crossing with New Zealand red deer (Cervus elaphus). Hybrid offspring are significantly heavier at weaning and have a faster post-weaning liveweight gain. However no formal comparisons of liveweight gain responses of red deer and hybrids to pasture allowance have been made. The aim of this work was to compare the growth rate of young red deer and red/elk hybrid stags over a range of nutritional levels during 3 seasons. Single species groups (10-12) of red deer and hybrid weaner stags were offered one of four pasture allowances under rotational grazing for a period of 9 weeks in the winter (June-July), spring (October-December) and summer (February-March). Stags were weighed and given a new allocation of pasture weekly. Pasture allowance ranged from 0.08 to 0.51 kg DM/W0.75/day and pre-grazing pasture mass from 800 to 4500kg DM/ha.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 57, , 139-143, 1997
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