Przybyło, M., Kazek, S., Kloska, A. et al. 2020. Preference of intake of different tree leaves preserved with drying and ensiling by nyala antelope (Tragelaphus angasii). Zoo Biology 39(6), 436-442.
It is recommended that browse should be an important part of diets for browsing and intermediate feeding type ruminants. However, provision of browse in winter time is problematic for many zoos located in the temperate climate. Drying or freezing of branches are commonly practiced solutions to this problem, but ensiling of tree leaves could also be an attractive option. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of drying and ensiling of different tree leaves on preference of their intake by nyala antelope (Tragelaphus angasii), an intermediate feeding type ruminant. A study was conducted on five nyala fed a standard diet (meadow hay, dehydrated chopped lucerne and limited concentrates) before and during the study. Preference of intake of five feeds was tested: dried maple (A. platanoides), oak (Q. robur), willow (S. alba), and ensiled maple and lime (T. cordata) leaves. Each day two tested feeds were offered to each animal. After 4-h of presentation, feed refusals were weighed and preference ratio for each tested feed and animal was calculated. Then, preferences were ranked using a pairwise comparison chart. Dried maple and oak leaves were preferred more than other leaves whereas ensiled lime leaves were the least preferred. On the other hand, ensiled and dried maple leaves were equally preferred. Results of this study showed that palatability of ensiled tree leaves should not be a concern when feeding nyala, and likely also other browsing or intermediate feeding type ruminants, but palatability of silage may depend on the species of tree.