Protein requirement of the juvenile male red-rumped agouti (Dasyprocta leporina) fed diets formulated with tropical forages
Keywords:Digestible crude protein, CP intake, dry matter intake, daily weight gain
The rearing of neotropical animals for meat has the potential to improve food security in the Caribbean, South and Central America. Neo-tropical animal species are well adopted to these environments and can be maintained on unconventional feedstuffs such as forages, fruits and vegetable waste. The red-rumped agouti (Dasyprocta leporina) is a neotropical animal with potential for captive rearing for meat production. However, its dietary protein requirements are largely unknown. Therefore this study was done to investigate protein requirements in captive reared juvenile male agoutis. Nine juvenile male agoutis were allocated to one of three treatment groups with varying levels of crude protein (CP). The treatment groups were low crude protein (LP – 100 g/kg DM), medium crude protein (MP – 125 g/kg DM) and high crude protein (HP – 150 g/kg DM). After an initial 6-weeks adaptation period, measurements of dry matter and nutrient intake and weight gain were recorded weekly for 5 weeks. Daily CP intake was unaffected by dietary CP levels (P > 0.05). However, apparent CP digestibility (61.2%) and intake of digestible CP (4.5 g/day) were highest with MP diet. Dry matter intake of LP diet was 17% and 39% higher than MP and HP diets, respectively. Intake of gross energy was highest (1.2 MJ/day) in agoutis fed the LP diet. It was therefore concluded that dietary CP of 100 – 125 g/kg DM can satisfy minimum daily intake of 4.0 g digestible CP which was adequete to achieve average daily gain of approximately 5.0 g in the captive reared juvenile male agouti.