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Journal Article

Winter Body-Weight Patterns of Female Mallards Fed Agricultural Seeds

Charles R. Loesch and Richard M. Kaminski
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 53, No. 4 (Oct., 1989), pp. 1081-1087
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
DOI: 10.2307/3809614
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3809614
Page Count: 7

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Topics: Diet, Female animals, Crops, Soybeans, Corn, Food, Body weight, Wetlands, Waterfowl, Agricultural management
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Winter Body-Weight Patterns of Female Mallards Fed Agricultural Seeds
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Abstract

During winter 1986-87, 4 exclusive agricultural seeds or a complete diet were fed to captive, wild-strain female mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) in an outdoor aviary in east-central Mississippi to test the hypothesis that their body weights (standardized for structural size) would be similar among diets over time. Analysis of variance indicated that diet and sampling date influenced the standardized weight (SW) of female mallards with interaction (P < 0.001). For all dates, the SW of females fed soybeans was less (P < 0.01) than for females fed the complete diet. For 5 of 6 initial sampling dates, the SW of females fed corn was lower (P < 0.04) than for females fed the complete diet; thereafter, there was no difference. The SW of females fed rice or millet did not differ (P > 0.05) from that of females fed the complete diet. Exclusive corn or soybean diets appear nutritionally sub-optimal or inadequate for female mallards, respectively, implicating a dietary need for supplemental natural foods from wetlands to offset nutritional deficiencies of diets primarily composed of these agricultural seeds. When switched to the complete diet in late winter, female mallards previously fed agricultural seeds recovered rapidly (1 week), emphasizing their physiological resiliency in the presence of abundant, quality food.

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