Health and Feeding Needs for Wapiti

Contents


General Information

Nutritional supplement formulas differ from region to region. A recommendation is to test your soil and natural feed to help determine a supplement plan which will best fit your animals needs. As you will see in the following charts, there are large discrepancies on some minerals, and others are very similar. Each rancher will need to look at all the information and make a decision which will best meet their needs and requirements.

Typically, if hay is being fed the nutritional need can be met by feeding a pellet with about 200 iu/kg. Corn is the best energy source followed by a close second barley, then wheat, oats, and silage. Ruminants can only digest 2.5% of their total body weight, in dry matter, per day.

The elk like the best alfalfa with the highest protein you can buy. They are not very excited about eating large stems, but they will if you force them (by not feeding properly or enough). They are primarily interested in the leaf part of the alfalfa.

Here are two poisonious plant databases http://www.ansci.cornell.edu/plants.html and http://res.agr.ca/brd/poisonpl/ that might be helpful for your animals forage.

The SPRING 1991 edition of "The Quarterly Journal of the North American Elk Breeders Association" included an article entitled "A Discussion on Elk Nutrition" written by Sharyon L. Doshier, Manager of Timberline Ranch, Ltd.

Dr. Jerry Haigh, a rancher and veterinarian from Canada, has also assisted by updating some of the rations with more recent information.

This supplement is charted as follows:

Digestible Energy Requirements (Mcal/kg)
Cow   2.3 - 2.8
Bull   2.3 - 2.4
Calves   2.3 - 3.0
     
Principle Minerals  
Crude Protein   Units
Cow 10 - 18 %
Bull 10 - 16 %
Calves 10 - 18 %
Min/Max Acid Detergent Fiber 20/45 %
Min/Max Neutral Detergent Fiber 25/50 %
Calcium 1.5 %
Phosphorous 0.6 %
Magnesium 0.4 %
Potassium 1.0 %
Salt 0.2 %
Chlorine 0.3 %
Sulfur 0.3 %
Iron 75 PPM
Copper 30 PPM
Manganese 85 PPM
Zinc 95 PPM
Iodine 1.0 PPM
Cobalt 0.3 PPM
Selenium 0.4 PPM
Vitamin A 5,600 IU/kg of feed
Vitamin D 750 IU/kg of feed
Vitamin E 100 IU/kg of feed

North American Elk Breeders Association has a custom wapiti pellet for mineral and vitamin feed supplementation, which is a bit different, published in the 1996 Velveting Brochure. This supplement is charted as follows:

Protein 16-18 %
Crude Fiber 10.0 %
Fat 3.0 %
Sodium 1.0 %
Calcium 2.0 %
Phosphorus 1.2 %
Magnesium 0.4 %
Potassium 1.0 %
Sulfur 0.5 %
Chloride 1.5 %
Copper 220 mg/kg of feed
Manganese 950 mg/kg of feed
Zinc 820 mg/kg of feed
Selenium 4 mg/kg of feed
Iron 450 mg/kg of feed
Cobalt 3 mg/kg of feed
Iodine 8 mg/kg of feed
Vitamin A 100000 IU/kg of feed
Vitamin D 10000 IU/kg of feed
Vitamin E 500 IU/kg of feed

*Fed at 1 LB/day to adults and 1/2 LB/day to calves 365 days per year.

One more Nutritional Management chart is given by Steve Puntenney, a ruminant nutritionist with Foster Mills in Delta, Colorado (1995).  This supplement is charted as follows:

PROBABLE NUTRIENT REQUIREMENTS FOR ELK (dry matter basis)

Per Kg
DM in Diet
Maint Growth Gestation Lactation
Velvet 3-6 mo 6-9 mo 9-18 mo 12-24 wk 24-36 wk 0-6 wk 6-12 wk
DE (MCal/kg) 2.3 2.4 3.0 2.8 2.6 2.5 2.6 2.8 2.7
Crude Protein (%) 7-10 10-12 18-20 16-18 12-14 12-14 14-15 14-16 12-14
Fat (%) minimum 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
ADF (%) min-max 25-45 25-45 16-35 20-40 20-45 20-45 20-45 20-40 20-40
Calcium (%) 0.35 1.40 0.60 .55 0.50 0.50 0.60 0.70 0.60
Phosphorus (%) 0.25 0.70 0.30 0.30 0.30 0.40 0.40 0.40 0.40
Potassium (%) 0.65 1.0 0.65 0.65 0.65 0.65 0.65 1.0 1.0
Magnesium (%) 0.20 0.40 0.20 0.20 0.20 0.20 0.20 0.25 0.20
Salt (%) 0.15 0.20 0.20 0.20 0.20 0.20 0.20 0.20 0.20
Copper (PPM) 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15
Manganese (PPM) 40 40 40 40 40 40 40 40 40
Zinc (PPM) 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50
Iron (PPM) 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50
Iodine (PPM) 0.30 0.30 0.30 0.30 0.30 0.30 0.30 0.60 0.60
Cobalt (PPM) 0.10 0.20 0.10 0.10 0.10 0.10 0.10 0.20 0.20
Selenium (PPM) 0.20 0.20 0.20 0.20 0.20 0.20 0.20 0.20 0.20
Vitamin A (IU/kg) 3000 5000 4000 4000 3000 5000 5000 5000 5000
Vitamin D (IU/kg) 600 1000 800 800 600 1000 1000 1000 1000
Vitamin E (IU/kg) 30 40 30 30 30 40 40 40 40
TDN (%) 64 70 76 72 68 64 67 76 74

DE=Digestible Energy; ADF=Acid Detergent Fiber; TDN=Total Digestible Nutrients


New Born

New born calves need their mothers milk quickly and on a regular basis. The need for the milk grows further apart as the calf grows up - The cycle is very similar to new born human babies. The cow must help the calf go to the bathroom by licking the rear quarters and allowing the muscles to start working. Later on the calf learns to lick themselves to get the muscles to work and then the licking can stop altogether when the calf has full control of their anatomy. The mother's elk milk analysis shows:

  • Fat - 7.5% increasing to 10% at 90 days
  • Protein - 6.2 % increasing to 8.5% at 90 days
  • Lactose - 4.1% with a maximum of 6%
  • Solids 20%

Many breeders use goats and goats milk as a substitute for calves that were rejected, pulled, or the mother cow had complications and is not providing the right nutrients.

Diagnostic Levels

If an elk is required to be slaughtered, you want to slaughter it, or it dies and you can get to it quickly, you might want to think about running a nutritional analysis on the animal. What needs to be tested is the liver of the animal. It can be frozen immediately and then shipped overnight to Dwayne Hamar, Ph.D., Biochemist and Toxicologist, Colorado State University, Department of Pathology, Fort Collins, CO 80523 - (970) 491-6148. The cost is minimal and you will need to call first.

You will want to test the liver for Copper, Manganese, Selenium, and Zinc. You may also want to send a sample of your feed supplement in for analysis to make sure your levels are acceptable.

The normal Diagnostic level for each of the named minerals are as follows:

Mineral PPM
Copper 80-480
Manganese 8.0-24.0
Selenium 1.0-5.6
Zinc 90-320

There are some visual inspections that can be done to verify copper levels in the animals. Examples of copper deficiency are curly hair, hair loss, hoof growth, uncoordinated staggering gait, massive weight loss, and eventually the inability to stand. This will lead to eventual death. If caught in the early stages, damage to the nervous system may be halted, but tissues that have already been damaged or destroyed can never be restored.

Other sites with Nutritional Information

Internet Sites to purchase Elk Meat and By-Products:


 

Back

WAPITI.NET Home Page
http://www.wapiti.net/
Copyright © 2000 WAPITI.NET
Please send questions and comments to webmaster@wapiti.net