Best Practice: Demonstrable success of Delacon’s Actifor® in deer breeding

Marlene Forrai

4 minutes | 17. October 2018
Degree of technical knowledge

Deer breeding at the highest level

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For two years now, Guenther Kitzmueller, a hobby breeder from Altenberg/Linz, Upper Austria, has been breeding red deer with great success. He receives inquiries about his herd of currently 40 animals from all over the world. Kitzmueller’s goal is to grow his herd of pure-bred red deer to 100 in the upcoming years. Some may think it quite unusual for an Austrian farmer to dedicate himself to breeding red deer, but for Kitzmueller this has been an obvious step to take. Why? As he has been always facinated by this species and the fact that breeding red deer at this scale is more lucrative for his farm than breeding pigs or cattle. Moreover, it is exciting to see how this hobby farmer became aware of Delacon’s phytogenic feed additives.

An encounter between two pioneers – innovation meets excellence

“I want the animals to develop optimally, and thereby I care about their welfare”, Kitzmueller says. This requires not only species-appropriate conditions and good genetics, but above all high-quality feeding. It becomes patently clear just with how much dedication and attention to detail the Kitzmueller family cares for their herd: Feeds are prepared fresh daily, in keeping with the animals’ needs, and continually optimized, with each ingredient being diligently measured out from a set of scales. Kitzmueller relies only on natural ingredients and works entirely without chemical substances. As part of his research and exchange with other farmers, he came across the plant-based feed additives of market leader Delacon.

The fact that the Delacon product range currently includes no products that are specifically designed for deer did not stop the hobby breeder from getting in touch with the company. Both sides immediately recognized each other’s pioneering spirit. They found through a number of conversations and trials that Delacon’s products for ruminants also yielded highly promising results with deer. The Kitzmuellers have now added Actifor® Power to daily deer feeds for over a year. What has changed over this period?

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Of course, the genetics must be right, but I’m convinced that real success in red deer breeding depends crucially on optimal feeds. I rely on Delacon’s phytogenic feed additives for this purpose.

Guenther Kitzmueller

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Plant-based additives – the key to success in deer feeding?

“I added Actifor® Power for a while as part of a series of trials to establish the optimal feed composition, and then I removed it again for comparison. The result was truly astounding: I observed an increase in feed intake by 80 percent”, Kitzmueller explains. This is decisive, as feed intake is naturally limited. The more feed and thus nutrients animals take in, the better their antlers grow and the better other health-related parameters develop. Animal health has remained stable despite the large feed intake: Dung consistency is normal, and the deer show no signs at all of metabolic or lung disease or hoof problems. According to Kitzmueller, he takes no other measures to prevent against disease, except for annual worming.

Moreover, the red deer fed Actifor® Power are also visually very impressive, with shiny coats, large antlers, powerful builds and an overall excellent condition, among other positive features.

People keep asking me what I feed my herd. If I then say, ‘plant-based feed additives’, they are often surprised and quite sceptical. Many simply can’t imagine that these truly outstanding results can be achieved by ‘only’ using phytogenic feed additives without any chemical supplements.

Guenther Kitzmueller

Full steam ahead towards a phytogenic future

Kitzmueller is certain that phytogenics are an important pillar of state-of-the-art animal nutrition. He intends to dedicate himself further to optimising feeds and the development of his young deer. As part of his endeavours, he will ponder questions such as when best to separate fawns from their mothers and how to promote optimal growth and development through feeding.

We wish him the best of success with his red deer breeding venture and look forward to working with him in the future!

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