Previous studies in sheep and cattle have demonstrated that the urinary excretion of purine derivatives (PD) provides an index of the intestinal flow of microbial protein (Chen et al. 1990). Yak is the most important ruminant species in Tibetan Plateau. It was of interest to establish whether the approach of PD excretion to estimate microbial protein supply is applicable in yaks. The objective of this work is to measure the effect of fasting and different levels of feeding on PD excretion in yaks.
The feeding experiments were carried out in Xi-ning, China at an altitude of 3100m and a latitude of 36.8° N. Six 5-year old female yaks were used and 3 experiments were completed.