In an experiment involving 30 roosters and 15 mature male ostriches the apparent metabolizable energy (ME) values, corrected for zero nitrogen retention (AMEn), were determined by balance method for maize and lucerne meal. A group of 10 roosters received maize as the sole dietary component. For the second group of 10 roosters a blend of 750 g/kg maize and 250 g/kg lucerne was prepared. The diet of the third group consisted of 500 g/kg maize and 500 g/kg lucerne meal. The ostrich basal diet consisted of 1000 g/kg lucerne, and was blended in the ratios 50 lucerne: 50 maize and 25 lucerne: 75 maize. Each dietary treatment was given to five ostriches, individually housed in metabolism crates. Food intake and excreta collection was carried out over a period of 5 days after the ostriches had been accustomed to the diets for 7 days. For roosters food intake and excreta collection lasted for 72 h after an adaptation period of 24 h.
The AMEn value for maize was 14·49 (s.e. 0·046) MJ/kg in roosters while in ostriches AME,, values of 14·3 (s.e. 1·81) and 14·5 (s.e. 0·845) MJ/kg for the 500 g/kg inclusion and 250 g/kg inclusion respectively were found.
In roosters lucerne meal yielded AME,, values of 4·49 (s.e. 0·506) and 4·05 (s.e. 0·321) at 250 g/kg and 500 g/kg inclusion levels respectively. For the ostriches a value of 8·9 (s.e. 0·755) Mj/kg was found for lucerne.
True ME, corrected for zero nitrogen retention, (TMEJ was computed by regressing gross energy output on gross energy input over all feeding levels. Maize yielded values of 14·65 (s.e. 0·0455) and 14·9 (s.e. 0·351) for roosters and ostriches respectively while corresponding values for lucerne were 4·03 (s.e. 0·118) and 8·6 (s.e. 0·296) MJ/kg.
It was concluded that the ostriches were capable of digesting a high starch diet such as maize to the same extent as adult roosters but ostriches were capable of digesting a high fibre ingredient such as lucerne meal much more efficiently.