Livestock Research for Rural Development 18 (9) 2006 Guidelines to authors LRRD News

Citation of this paper

Effects of Madras thorn, Leucaena and Gliricidia supplementation on feed intake, digestibility and growth of goats fed Panicum hay

S A Abdulrazak, R K Kahindi and R W Muinga*

Department of Animal Science , Egerton University, P.O. Box 536, Njoro, Kenya
*Kenya Agricultural Research Institute, KARI-Mtwapa, P.O. Box 16-80109, Mtwapa, Kenya
sabdulrazak@yahoo.com


Abstract

A study was conducted to compare the effect of feeding Pithecellobium dulce (Madras thorn), Leucaena Leucecephala (leuceana) and Gliricidia Sepium (gliricidia) on voluntary feed intake, live weight gains, digestibility and nitrogen balance of growing goats fed Panicum hay. Twelve Small East African goats aged between 8 and 9 months and average 9.65 kg were randomly assigned to four treatments namely Panicum hay fed ad libitum plus 100 g of maize bran (control), control supplemented with 18.6, 22.5 and 19.9 g DM/kgW0.75 isonitrogenous levels of Leucaena, Gliricidia or Madras thorn respectively.

Crude protein concentrations in DM were 3.5, 21%, 23% and 25% for hay, Gliricidia, Madras thorn and Leucaena respectively. Total daily dry matter intake was 229 g to 365 g, 387 g and 398 g/day for the control, Madras thorn, Gliricidia and Leucaena respectively. Animals supplemented with the legumes retained (P<0.05) more nitrogen than the control (Madras thorn 3.7, Gliricidia 3.6, Leucaena 3.5 vs. 0.6 g/day). Legume supplementation increased (P<0.05) daily gains form 2 g/day in the control treatment to 19, 22 and 25 g/day for Gliricidia, Madras thorn and Leucaena respectively.

Supplementing Panicum hay with madras thorn gave similar growth performance to Gliricidia and Leucaena.

Key words: Gliricidia, Goats, Growth, Leucaena, Madras thorn


Introduction

Tree legumes, such as Leuceana leucocephala (Leucaena) and Gliricidia sepium (Gliricidia) have been used as protein supplements for low quality forages and resulted in improved ruminant productivity (Norton 1994). This is because of their high crude protein (CP) content and forage availability throughout the year. Leucaena contains (in DM)  on average 25 % CP while Gliricidia has 22 %, (Topps 1992). Leucaena and Gliricidia have been used to supplement maize stover with significant increases in weight gain (Abdulrazak et al 1997). One of the reasons why Gliricidia is popular is its resistance to the defoliating psyllid (Heteropsylla cubana), which has devastated Leucaena in many parts of the tropics (Simons and Stewart 1994). However Gliricidia has cases of unpalatability that are associated with the odour of the leaves, which can be removed by wilting (Norton 1994).

Madras thorn (Pithecellobium dulce) is a tree legume originally from South America, now cultivated in the tropics and naturalised in Kenya at low altitudes to 150 m above sea level. It tolerates arid and semi-arid conditions. Madras thorn is mostly grown as a hedge and goats naturally graze the prunings. The tree/shrub leaves have a CP of 24 % in DM and in-vitro dry matter digestibility of about 59% (Quiroz et al 1997). This tree has a potential for use by both resource constrained rural and small-scale peri-urban farmers as a protein supplement to low quality forage and crop residues. However, information on its nutritive value as a livestock feed either as a supplement or sole diet is scanty. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of supplementing Panicum maximum (Panicum) hay with Madras thorn and to compare the response with Gliricidia and Leucaena on feed intake, live weight changes, digestibility and nitrogen balance of growing goats.


Materials and Methods

Site

The study was carried out at Kilifi Institute of Agriculture, Kilifi district, Kenya. It lies at 3° 50'S, 39°44'E, and its 3 m above sea level. The average annual rainfall is 1200 mm (Jaetzold and Schmidt 1983). The monthly rainfall during the experiment was 29 and 195 mm respectively while the mean monthly minimum and maximum temperature are 22°C and 33°C respectively.

Animals

Twelve Small East African male and female goats aged eight to nine months and body weight average 9.65 kg (± 1.5) were used to determine voluntary feed intake, digestibility and live weight changes. Before the start of the experiment the goats were dewormed with an anthelmintic and their mean live weights recorded. The goats were housed individual in raised floor pens (1 m x 0.75 m).

Feeds and treatment diets

Panicum hay used as the basal diet in the experiment was purchased from a Kilifi farmer. Madras thorn leaves were harvested from the Institute live fence after cutting and allowed to re-grow for 6 weeks. Leucaena and Gliricidia were established in 1989 at KARI- Mwapa station, since they have been cut back and allowed to re-grow for about two months. The harvested madras thorn, Leucaena and Gliricidia leaves were sun dried before the start of experiment. The control diet consisted of the Panicum hay fed ad libitum plus 100 g/day of maize bran and a mineral lick. The other three treatments consisted of the control supplemented with isonitrogenous levels of leaves of Madras thorn (19.5 g DM /kgW0.75), Leucaena (18.6 g DM /kgW0.75) and Gliricidia (22.5g DM /kgW0.75).

Experimental design and procedure

A completely randomized design (CRD) was used with each treatment being replicated three times. The basal diet was offered in the morning and added in the afternoon to ensure availability at all times. The supplements were offered at 0800hrs before the basal diet. Feed offered and refusals were weighed everyday to determine daily intake. The basal diet was adjusted so that 10 % more of previous day's intake was offered daily. Animals were weighed weekly before feeding. The amount of legume supplement was adjusted weekly to conform to live weight changes. Data were collected for seven weeks after a seven-day adaptation period.

Digestibility trial

During the last seven days of the trial, total fecal and urine output per animal of the 12 goats were collected, weighed and recorded. The goats were housed in metabolic cages (1 m x 0.75 m), where urine and feces were collected separately. A 10 % sample of the 24-hr feces collected for every goat was dried at 65 C for 24 hrs and stored. At the end of the collection period, the fecal samples were bulked per animal, mixed and a sample taken to determine dry matter (DM), organic mater (OM), and nitrogen (N). Urine was collected over 25 ml of 10 % hydrochloric acid per 100 ml urine, for every goat. Urine collected daily was frozen and at the end of the seven day collection period, urine was pooled and sub-sampled per animal for nitrogen analysis.

Sampling and analyses

Panicum hay, Madras thorn, Gliricidia and Leucaena were sampled weekly; the samples were dried at 85 C and ground to pass through a 3.5 mm screen. The ash, DM, ether extracts (EE), tannins and N (Kjeldhal-N) were determined as described by Abdulrazak and Fujihara (1999), CP calculated by multiplying N with 6.25. Calcium was determined according to the procedure described by Okalebo et al (2002).

Data analysis

Data from the experiments was subjected to analysis of variance using the general linear model (GLM) procedure (SAS 1987). The treatment means were separated using least significance difference (LSD).


Results and Discussion

The chemical composition of the feeds used in the experiment is given in Table 1.


Table 1.  Chemical composition (g/kg DM) of feeds used in the experiment

 

DM*

CP

Ash

EE

Calcium

Tannins

Gliricidia

250.0

210.0

89.8

129.1

9.4

32.4

Leucaena

250.0

250.0

68.7

132.5

3.0

43..9

Madras

250.0

230.0

99.2

124.5

7.8

19.4

Hay                 

850.0

35.0

32

21.5

nd

nd

Maize bran

900.0

150.0

30

96.9

nd

nd

* On fresh basis
DM=dry matter, CP=crude protein, EE=ether extract, nd = Not determined


Crude protein content of the legumes was in the expected range of 120-300 g/kg DM reported by Kaitho (1997) (Table 1). The 35 g/kg DM CP content of hay was similar to the value reported by Njarui et al (2003) for natural pasture hay. This level is below the 70 g/kg DM minimum requirement for optimal microbial function in the rumen (Minson and Milford 1967) and even after the addition of the maize bran the crude protein level of the diet (60 g/kg DM) was still below the minimum, hence responses to the legume supplements in all measured parameters (Tables 2 and 3) were to be expected


Table 2.   Mean daily dry matter intake (g/day) and digestibility (g/kg) of the feed used in the experiment

 

Control

Madras

Gliricidia

Leucaena

SEM

DMI

 

 

 

 

 

   Hay

139a

113a

128a

158a

22.34

   Legume

0b

162a

170a

146a

19.10

   Maize bran

90

90

90

90

-

  Total

229b

365a

387a

398a

35.11

DMD

599b

629ab

635a

620ab

13.8

Means in the same row with the same letter superscript are not statistically different (P<0.05)

DMD = dry matter digestibility, DMI = dry matter intake, SEM = Standard error of mean.



Table 3.   Mean nitrogen balance and average daily gain (g/day) of the goats used in the experiment

 

Control

Madras

Gliricidia

Leucaena

SEM

Feed N

1.0b

6.8a

7.2a

6.6 a

0.77

Urine N

0.2a

1.0a

1.2a

0.4 a

0.59

Faecal N

0.2c

2.0b

2.4ab

2.7 a

0.25

N loss

0.4b

3.1a

3.6a

3.1 a

0.52

N retained

0.6b

3.7a

3.6 a

3.5 a

0.71

ADG

1.6b

21.6a

18.7a

25.4a

3.00

Means in the same row with the same letter superscript are not statistically different (P<0.05)

N = nitrogen, ADG = average daily gain, SEM = Standard error of mean.


Similar observations were reported by Abdulrazak et al (1997) who found an increase in DM intake when maize stover was supplemented with Leucaena or Gliricidia in crossbred steers. Camero et al (2001) noted that supplementation increased microbial degradation in the rumen, which in turn increased voluntary feed intake and animal production.

Nitrogen loss in the legume diets was more through the feces (average 2.4 g) than through the urine (average 0.9 g), which indicated a high biological value for the legume protein, and that the limiting factor was the digestibility.   Leucaena had significantly (P< 0.05) more fecal loss as compared to Gliricidia and Madras thorn, which may have been the results of the high tannin content (4.39 % in DM), binding to the protein and rendering it unavailable for digestion.

The improved growth rates and associated N retention resulting from legume supplementation of a low-protein basal diet are in accordance with findings of  Adeloye (2000) in goats fed increasing levels of Albizia (Albizia lebbeck) as supplements to sorghum glumes,and of Van Eys et al (1986) for goats fed a basal diet of Napier grass supplemented with Leucaena.


Conclusions


Acknowledgment

The authors are grateful to the Rockefeller Foundation for financial support through the soil and water management project at KARI-Mtwapa and Kilifi Institute of Agriculture.


References

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Received 13 June 2006; Accepted 12 August 2006; Published 11 September 2006

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