Comparisons were made between 25 Ethiopian rams and 25 Galla goats for voluntary intake Two separate studies to evaluate alternative methods of processing Acacia nilotica pods and level of replacement of cotton seed cake with Acacia pods; and its effect on nutrient composition, feed intake, digestibility of nutrients, heamatological parameters and general performance of Galla goats and Ethiopian rams were conducted. The aims were to explore cheaper, safer and easier method of processing Acacia pods and to explore the advantages of Acacia nilotica pods as a cheaper source of protein to livestock; in place of the highly competitive and costly conventional sources of protein to livestock. Differently processed A. nilotica pods contained 96.13%, 96.47%, 97.52%, 97.21% and 98.12% dry matter, 12.69%, 12.13%, 15.06%, 13.25%, and 10.13% crude protein; 2.81%, 2.33%, 5.51%, 9.46%, and 4.74% hemicelluloses, for sun-dried (T1), crushed (T2), soaked and milled (T3), sun-dried and milled (T4), and sun-dried milled with charcoal (T5) respectively. Sun-dried Acacia pods contained 0.05% Sodium, 4.00% (mg/kg) Calcium, 0.03% Iron, 0.01% Zinc, 0.14% Magnesium and 1.00% Potassium. Tannin content in differently processed Acacia pods were 1.20, 1.30, 0.90, 0.10 and 0.80 mg/100kg in treatments T1, T2, T3, T4 and T5 respectively. Twenty five Galla goats (bucks) of average age of 10 months and averagedly weighing 10.2 ± 0.4 kg were used in a Completely Randomized Block Design (CRBD) experiment, to evaluate the effect of processing A. nilotica pods and dried sugar cane forage (basal diet) on feed intake, nutrient digestibility and performance of Galla goats. Dietary treatments significantly (P<0.05) affected daily feed intake (DFI), feed conversion ratio (FCR), weight gain (WG), and final body weight (FBW). Digestibilities of CP, EE, NDF, and HC were significantly (P<0.05) affected across dietary treatments. Nitrogen intake (NI) and faecal nitrogen (FN) differed significantly (P<0.05) across dietary treatments. Packed cell volume (PCV), haemoglobin (Hb) and total plasma protein (TPP) were not significantly (P>0.05) affected by dietary treatments. It was therefore concluded that sun-drying Acacia pods was preferred to other methods of processing used in this study because it gave better results in terms of FI, WG, FCR, and FBW. It was also found to be cheaper and easier to process. It was also concluded that 25% of sun-dried Acacia pods can be used to replace CSC in the diets of Galla goats without having any adverse effect on nutrient digestibility, haematological parameters and performance in them. Therefore, weight loss amongst Galla goats can be highly reduced by incorporating Acacia pods in their diets; especially during periods of feed scarcity, which is a common experience in the Northern part of Nigeria.
1.1 Background of the study
Previous studies (Aboud et al, 1992) clearly indicate the value of selective feeding. Sheep were shown to perform better and consume more digestible matter through selective intake of leaf and sheath fractions of sorghum stover as a result of liberal offers. This observation is of practical value for small ruminants in the tropics because the traditional feeding systems depend largely on crop residues. However, there is little evidence in the literature that the approach adopted by Aboud et al (1992) would be as effective for goats as it was for sheep. Results from comparative studies between sheep and goats of selective efficiency are generally conflicting (Huston, 1978; Devendra and Bums, 1983). Goats in the tropics are more able than sheep to consume feed fractions of higher nutritional quality when offered the opportunity to eat selectively (Devendra and Burns, 1983; Hoppe et al, 1977; Huston, 1978). This observation does not agree with studies carried out in temperate countries, where sheep have been shown to perform better than goats under most practical feeding systems. A comparative feeding and performance study on Small East African goats and the Red Maasai sheep in Tanzania (Shoo, 1986) was inconclusive, although sheep appeared to perform better than goats when offered a basal diet of Chlorisgayanahay with Leucaenaas a supplementary forage. However, observations in Shoo’s (1986) study did not include an assessment of selective feeding ability between the two species. The inclusion of a supplementary forage may have confounded the results, as it is known that goats would preferentially consume browse species (Lu, 1988). Most of the comparative studies in the tropics were made under grazing conditions, whereas those in the temperate countries involved comparisons under stall-feeding conditions in which feed was offered at restricted levels, usually at 35 g dry matter M(D)/kg live weight per day or to achieve 10-20% rate of refusal. Comparative studies under grazing or in stalls at restricted levels of offer may give misleading results (Demment and Van Soest, 1983). Restricted levels of offer do not usually provide sufficient opportunity for selective feeding (Aboud et al, 1993). This is particularly serious where low-quality crop residues are used in comparisons.
No performance comparison has been made between sheep and goats that have been fed untreated crop residues at levels that would allow selective intake. Alimon (1989) only measured the digestible organic matter (OM) intake of goats offered increasing levels of feed, but did not measure any related growth performance. Aboud et al (1993) showed that certain levels of offer encouraged sheep to eat selectively. By offering goats and sheep the same type of sorghum stover at these levels both species may perform similarly.
1.2 Objectives of the study
The general objective of the studies was to find better methods of feeding sugar cane and some protein-rich foliage species to get the highest feed intake and the best performance in small ruminants.
The specific objectives were:
- To assess the effect of animal factors such as animal species (sheep and goats) and group size (single and group pens) on feed intake, behaviour and growth rate.
- To test the effect of some feed factors such as
– processing method of sugar cane and Acacia foliage
– Level of feed offered of sugar cane
– Supplementation with concentrate
– Method of presentation of foliage and mixtures of foliages
-Utilization of bamboo charcoal to reduce the anti nutritional effect of tannins in Acacia foliage on feed intake, behaviour and growth rate.
- To identify the intake potential of sugar cane and three tropical foliage species by small ruminants.
1.3 Significance of the study
Inadequacy of livestock feeds in the dry season particularly protein is a major constraint to livestock production in the tropics. Acacia species, such as A.nilotica are found in most tropical countries. They have a relatively high crude protein ranging from 12 to 30%. Notwithstanding, their availability and potential as an alternative source of protein to livestock, they are mainly used for tanning of leather, as medicine and for reclamation of degraded lands. This study attempts to explore the possibility of using A. nilotica pods in feeding Galla goats.
1.4 Scope of the study
The study was carried out on feeds and feeding of sheep and goat. The study was limited to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
1.5 Organization of the study
The study is organized into six chapters. Chapter one deals with the study’s introduction and gives a background to the study. Chapter two reviews related and relevant literature. The chapter three gives the research methodology while the chapter four gives the study’s analysis and interpretation of data. Chapter four discusses the results of the study. The study concludes with chapter six which deals on the summary, conclusion and recommendation.
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