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Milk composition and production in free-living allied rock-wallabies, Petrogale assimilis

Merchant, J.C., Marsh, H., Spencer, P.ORCID: 0000-0002-4938-2615 and Death, G. (1996) Milk composition and production in free-living allied rock-wallabies, Petrogale assimilis. Australian Journal of Zoology, 44 (6). pp. 659-674.

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Milk composition and the rates of milk consumption by pouch young were examined in free-living allied rock-wallabies, Petrogale assimilis. Milk solids concentrations were approximately 16% (w/w) at 70 days post-partum and increased to about 22% by 170 days when young first left the pouch. By permanent pouch emergence (about 200 days), concentrations had declined and stabilised at about 19%. Milk carbohydrate peaked at 12% (w/v) at 150 days; lipid concentrations averaged 8% (w/w) at 200 days. The subsequent decline in carbohydrates was the main cause of the fall in milk solids. Protein concentrations increased gradually from about 3% (w/v) at 70 days to plateau at 5.5% at about 200 days. Milk consumption rates were measured from 72 to 159 days post-partum with 22Na turnover. Milk consumption, about 3 mL day- 1 initially, increased to an average of about 15 mL day-1 by 150 days. The mass gained by a pouch young between 72 and 159 days for each millilitre of milk consumed was not correlated with lactational stage and averaged 0.21 ± 0.014 (s.e.) g mL-1.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Copyright: © CSIRO 1996
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