Livestock Research for Rural Development 19 (8) 2007 Guide for preparation of papers LRRD News

Citation of this paper

In vivo digestibility and performance of growing goats fed maize stover supplemented with browse leaf meals and cotton seed cake based concentrates

E E Ndemanisho* B N Kimoro, E J Mtengeti* and V R M Muhikambele*

Department of Livestock Production, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, P.O. Box 34188, Nairobi, Kenya.
*Department of Animal Science and Production,Sokoine University of Agriculture, P.O. Box 3004, Morogoro. Tanzania
ndema@suanet.ac.tz

Abstract

Rumen degradability, in vivo digestibility and intake studies were undertaken to evaluate the potential of Leucaena leucocephala, Albizia lebbeck, Moringa oleifera and Gliricidia sepium leaf meals compared with cotton seed cake as protein sources for goats. In a rumen dry matter (DM) and crude protein (CP) degradability study, hominy meal (HM), maize stover (MS), and isonitrogenous concentrates (220g CP/kg DM) based on Leucaena (LBC), Albizia (ABC), Moringa (MBC), Gliricidia (GBC) or cotton seed cake (CSC) were used in nylon bags, were inserted into the rumens of 4 fistulated heifers and removed after 2 to 96 hours. In an in vivo digestibility study, 20 goats were fed ad libitum maize stover, supplemented with either of the LBC, ABC, MBC, GBC or CSC concentrates.

There were differences (P<0.05) in DM and CP degradability constants, both between energy feedstuffs (MS and HM) and between protein feedstuffs (leaf meals and CSC). The digestibility study showed differences in DM, organic matter (OM), CP, acid detergent fibre (ADF) and neutral detergent fibre (NDF) intake between treatments (P<0.05), but the corresponding in vivo digestibility coefficients were similar across treatments (P>0.05), except for CP. Total intake varied from 302 ± 4.5 in ABC to 316 ± 0.7 g per day in CSC.

Average growth rate for the goats across treatments was 26.5 ± 2.9 g/d and did not differ among treatments (P>0.05). These weights were rather lower than expected for crossbred dairy goats. This could be attributed to the short period involved in trial, that is not being long enough to allow for tangible growth rate but also due to the maize stover used as basal diet being of too low quality. However, the study suggests that the browses used could replace cotton seed cake as supplement for protein.

Keywords: browse leaf meals, cotton seed cake, growing goats, In vivo digestibility, maize stover


Introduction

Forage trees and shrubs are an integral part of farming system and generally, have multiple uses in all less-developed countries in the tropics (Preston 1995, Khamseekhiew et al 2001). Leucaena leucocephala, Gliricidia sepium, Albizia lebbeckand Moringa oleifera are browse shrubs widely available and fed to animals by farmers in the tropics. Their use as supplements has been shown to enhance intake of poor quality roughages, improve growth rates and increase reproduction efficiency in ruminants (Karachi and Zengo 1997; Alayon et al 1998; Orden et al 2000). The high dry matter degradability values of the leaf meals make them appropriate as supplements with basal diets of poor quality. The high dry matter degradability implies high fermentation and passage rates, thus allowing higher feed intakes by animals. In addition, this feature also facilitates faster release of nutrients to the microbial population in the rumen thus optimising microbial synthesis. In spite of the apparently high dry matter values of these browse plants, there is evidence (Kamatali et al 1992; Azim et al 2002) that animal response is not always predictable and there are differences in their nutritive values. Further, comparison of these browse plants species has not been undertaken effectively with goats. The purpose of this study was therefore to assess the degradability and in vivo digestibility of concentrates based on leaf meals of Leucaena leucocephala, Gliricidia sepium, Albizialebbeck and Moringa oleifera compared to cotton seed cake (CSC) in growing goats.


Materials and methods

Degradability study
Animals and their management

Maize stover, which formed a basal diet, was collected from the University farms in early August 2001 and chopped into 2 - 4 cm lengths using a tractor driven forage chopper. The stover were then stored in a dry concrete pit during the entire period of the experiment. The basal diet was supplemented with concentrates based on Albizia lebbeck (ABC), Gliricidia sepium (GBC), Leucaena leucocephala (LBC), Moringa oleifera (MBC) and cotton seed cake (CSC) as shown in Table 1. The shrubs were harvested at flowering stages around the University farm. They were each dried under the sun for two days while hand turning (twelve times per day) to avoid scorching. The dried leaves were preserved in dried sacks and stored ready for feeding. Cotton seed cake, hominy meal, mineral mixture, salt and vitamins were purchased from various milling enterprises and agro-shops in Morogoro town. All the diets were formulated to be iso-nitrogenous and contained on average 220 g crude protein (CP) per kg dry matter (DM). This was achieved by using different proportions of browse and cotton seed cake. Degradability was estimated by the nylon bag technique, as described by Ørskov (2000). Four heifers with permanent rumen fistulas were used in the study. Prior to commencement of the study, the animals were subjected to a preliminary period of 10 days. The ration during this period, consisting of cut grass (Briacharia/Panicum grass mixture), supplemented with 2.0 kg of a concentrate mixture, consisting of all the four leaf meals, CSC, hominy meal and mineral supplements. Daily feed intakes were recorded and corresponded to roughage to concentrate ratio of 70:30 and this feeding regime was maintained until the removal of the last nylon bags from the rumens.

The energy (ME) of the feedstuffs was calculated according to the following formulae:

OMD = 0.98 DMD - 4.8 (MAFF 1975),

Where OMD = organic matter digestibility and DMD 48 - hour degradability. .

The energy was then estimated as follows:

ME (MJ/kg DM) = 0.15 or 0.16 OMD (Beever and Mould 2000).

The effective degradability was calculated, using a fractional passage rate of 0.04 h - 1 , according to Mgheni et al (2001)

Sample preparation and data collection

All samples were air-dried and ground to pass a 2.5-mm screen of a Christy and Norris hammer mill. The nylon bags used were approximately 7.5 x 10 cm in size with a pore size of about 40 to 50 µm and were filled with approximately 1 g of the respective samples. Rumen incubation times were 0, 2, 4, 8, 16, 24, 48 and 96 h. After removal, the bags were subsequently placed into plastic bags and stored in a deep freezer at a temperature of between -15 0C and -20 0 C to prevent further microbial activity.

After removal from the deep freezer, all bags were thawed, placed into a washing machine and washed for 30 minutes. For the 0 - hour washing loss determination, duplicates of the samples, without incubation in the rumen, were similarly washed in a washing machine for 30 minutes.

In vivo digestibility study
Animals and their management

In vivo digestibility of DM, OM, N, NDF (neutral detergent fibre) and ADF (acid detergent fibre) determination were carried out on 20 cross-bred (local Tanzania x Norwegian Landrace,) male goats aged 6 to 7 months (originating from the intake study). This experiment was conducted three weeks after the feed intake experiment (See intake data in Table 4) where 40 growing goats (20 males and 20 females) had been used. Amounts of feed offered and refusals were recorded daily and samples were taken for subsequent analyses.

Feeding and feed allowance

Maize stover was provided on ad libitum basis (that is to allow for about 10 - 25% refusal) throughout the experimental period. The refusals from the previous day's offer were collected from each animal, weighed, recorded, sub sampled and finally bulked for chemical analysis at the end of the study (Table 1). The supplementary feeds were split into two portions and fed in the morning (0900 h) and afternoon (1400 h). The basal diet was given in the morning (0900 h) after removal of the previous day's refusals. All animals had free access to both water and minerals (mineral blocks) during the entire experiment. The total duration of the study was 17 days (10 days adjustment period and 7 days collection period).

Refusals and faeces collection

During the collection period, samples from the maize stover offered and refusals from each goat were collected, weighed, recorded and bulked. At the end of the study, the bulked refusals from individual animal were thoroughly mixed, re-sampled, oven dried (60o C for 48 h), ground through a 1-mm sieve and then analysed.

The faeces were thoroughly mixed, weighed and dried to constant weight at 103 - 105 C in a Unitherm forced draught oven for chemical analysis.

In vitro digestibility

Dry matter digestibility and OMD of feed samples offered to experimental animals were determined in vitro using the acid pepsin two-stage method (Tilley and Terry 1963).

Laboratory analyses

Dried samples were milled through a 1 mm screen before being analysed. Feeds and faeces were analysed for DM, OM, N and ash in accordance with AOAC (1990). The ADF, ADL and NDF values were analysed according to Van Soest et al (1991). Wet faeces and urine were analysed for N using the Kjedahl method (AOAC 1990).

Biometrical analyses

The disappearance of DM from the nylon bags was described by the model of Ørskov and McDonald (1979):

P = a + b (1- e-ct)

Where:

P = percentage degradability at time t.

a = Soluble fraction assumed to disappear from the bag instantly (g/kg)

b = Insoluble but rumen potentially degradable material at time t (g/kg)

c = Rate constant at which b is degraded (1/h).

t = Length of incubation (h).

Effective rumen degradability (EPD) was then calculated using the equation:

EPD = a + bc/(c + k) (Ørskov and McDonald 1979)

where EPD were used to describe the digestion kinetics and to calculate the effective rumen degradability and k = passage rate constant (0.04 h - 1 ).

The 48-hour values were analysed using the General Linear Model (GLM) procedures of the Statistical Analysis System (SAS 1998) using the model:

Yij = μ + Ti + eij

where

Yij = Record of the jth value belonging to the ith sample

μ = Overall mean

Ti = Effect of the ith incubation period

eij = Error term

A similar model was used to analyse the in vivo digestibility data.

The least square means (LS Means) were computed and tested for significance.
 

Results

Chemical composition of feedstuffs and supplements

The composition of protein supplements and feed ingredients used in the study are shown in Tables 1 and 2.


Table 1.  Components of feed supplements used in the study (g/kg DM)

Feedstuff

Treatments*

LBC

ABC

MBC

GBC

CSC

Leucaena

550

-

-

-

-

Albizia

-

510

-

-

-

Moringa

-

-

460

-

-

Gliricidia

-

-

-

540

-

Cotton Seed Cake

130

140

150

130

570

Hominy meal

310

340

380

320

420

Mineral lick

    7.5

    7.5

      7.5

    7.5

    7.5

Common salt

   2.5

   2.5

   2.5

   2.5

   2.5

Total

1000

1000

1000

1000

1000

*Treatments:- LBC = Leucaena based concentrate; ABC = Albizia based concentrate;
MBC = Moringa based concentrate and GBC = Gliricidia based concentrate



Table 2.  Chemical composition of feedstuffs used in the experiment (g/kg DM)

Item

Feedstuffs1

LL

AL

MO

GS

CSC

HM

MS

DM

892

900

870

893

916

889

881

OM

868

925

869

843

939

943

936

CP

212

250

303

221

386

131

26

Ash

132

76

131

109

61

57

64

NDF

390

504

381

360

425

535

816

ADF

271

353

366

350

341

73

538

Hemicellulose

119

151

15

  10

84

462

278

ME (MJ/Kg DM)

118

74

141

134

133

131

78

Ca

22.5

  9.8

13.5

 6.2

  2.5

  16.4

 1.7

P

2.4

 1.4

 5.3

 1.1

  4.5

  6.8

  5.4

1Feedstuff include LL = Leucaena leucocephala; AL = Albizia lebbeck; MO = Moringa oleifera; GS = Gliricidia sepium; CSC = Cotton seed cake respectively; HM = hominy meal and MS = Maize stover


Maize stover had higher NDF and ADF values and hominy meal had a higher hemicellulose value compared to the other feedstuffs. However, their CP levels were lower compared to values of leaf meals and CSC. Among the leaf meals AL had the highest NDF value and MO the highest CP level. The chemical compositions of the treatment rations were as shown in Table 3.


Table 3.  Chemical composition of treatment rations (g/kg DM basis)

Component

Treatments*

LBC

ABC

MBC

GBC

CSC

DM

844

840

823

809

844

OM

885

921

905

897

937

CP

227

225

222

223

223

Ash

131

86

105

118

69

NDF

414

539

425

382

453

ADF

298

291

244

203

307

ADL

54

97

35

57

50

Hemicellulose

107

249

182

179

145

Cellulose

244

194

208

146

258

IVDMD

694

626

695

692

697

IVOMD

698

639

705

700

717

ME (MJ/Kg DM)

112

102

113

112

115

Ca

22.7

10.5

9.3

14.4

2.7

P

12.6

7.6

5.9

7.8

5.4

*Treatment rations similar to Table 1


The supplements were isonitrogenous. However, ABC and CSC had a slightly higher OM values compared to the rest of the concentrates. The ADL of ABC was highest among the concentrates used in the study.

Intake

Intake results are presented in Table 4. The leaf meal supplemented diets had similar trend of intake to maize stover. Goats on LBC had slightly lower DM intakes of maize stover compared to those on other treatments. There were hardly any leftovers in the feed troughs from the supplements.


 

Table 4.  Least square means  and SEM for DMI in the experimental animals

 

Parameter

Treatments1

SEM

P-value

 

LBC

ABC

MBC

GBC

CSC

 

Maize stover, g/d

149.6 ▒ 3.77 a

150.6 ▒ 3.81a b

153.6 ▒ 3.71 a b

159.9 ▒ 3.70 a b

160.8 ▒ 3.69b

2.5

0.1

 

Supplement diets, g/d

157.4 ▒ 1.95a

151.6 ▒ 1.97bc

149.2 ▒ 1.92b

147.1 ▒ 1.92b

155.3 ▒ 1.91ac

1.4

0.0007

 

Total, g/d

307.0 ▒ 4.45ab

302.2 ▒ 4.50a

302.8 ▒ 4.38a

307.0 ▒ 4.36ab

316.1 ▒ 4.36b

2.9

0.09

 

As % LWt

2.8 ▒ 0.05

2.8 ▒ 0.05

2.8 ▒ 0.05

2.8 ▒ 0.05

2.9 ▒ 0.05

0.04

0.3

 

Protein, g/day

37a

34c

36b

37a

38a

0.03

0.0001

 

Energy, MJ/day

1.8 c

1.5 c

1.7 b

1.6 b

1.8b

0.03

0.08

 

1See Table 1;  Means with different superscripts within a row are significantly different (P<0.05)


Growth performance

The results on growth performance are presented in Table 5. There were generally small differences in growth rates between treatments. Goats fed CSC had higher mean gains compared to the other treatments (P<0.05) except GBC.


Table 5.  Least square means (▒ s.e ) of growth parameters and Feed Conversion Ratio

  Parameter

     Treatments1

 

 

LBC

ABC

MBC

GBC

CSC

SEM

P-value

    No. of animals

8

8

8

8

8

-

-

    Days in experiment

90

90

90

90

90

-

-

    Initial body wt, kg

9.8

9.8

9.8

9.8

9.9

0.4

-

    Finishing body wt, kg

12.0 ▒ 0.28 a

11.8 ▒ 0.28 a

11.9 ▒ 0.28 a

12.1 ▒ 0.27 a

12.9 ▒ 0.27 b

0.4

-

    Total wt gain, kg

2.2 ▒ 0.28a

2.0 ▒ 0.29a

2.1 ▒ 0.28a

2.3 ▒ 0.28ab

3.0 ▒ 0.28b

0.3

0.12

    Growth rate, g d-1

24.0 ▒ 3.15a

22.1 ▒ 3.18a

23.7 ▒ 3.10a

25.4 ▒ 3.09ab

33.1 ▒ 3.09b

2.2

0.12

    Feed conversion ratio

12.8

13.7

12.8

12.1

9.5

1.41

0.38

1See Table 1;  Means with different superscripts within a row are significantly different (P<0.05)


Rumen Degradability

Degradability of DM and CP at 48 hours, and fitted model parameters are presented in Tables 6 and 7 and the corresponding degradation curves are shown in Figures 1 and 2.


Table 6.   DM degradation constants, 48 hour degradability (g/kg DM) and ME (MJ/kg DM) of the studied feedstuffs

Feedstuff1

Maize stover

a

b

c/h

a + b

48 h

ME

RSD2

80e

667a

0.03c

748d

580d

7.8

7.7

AL

313d

199f

0.10abc

513e

509e

7.4

2.4

MO

419c

538b

0.16a

957a

956a

14.1

3.0

HM

579a

399d

0.50bc

978a

939a

13.1

2.7

GS

412c

490c

0.13ab

911b

901b

13.4

2.6

LL

317d

538b

0.05bc

855c

798c

11.8

3.0

CSC

551b

334e

0.19a

885bc

895b

13.3

1.8

1See Table 2;   2Residual standard deviation

a,b,c,d,eMeans with different superscripts within a column are significantly different (P<0.05)



Table 7.   CP degradation constants, potential degradability and 48-hour degradability of the studied feedstuffs (g /kg DM)

Feedstuff1

Maize stover

a

b

c/h

a + b

48 h

RSD2

432e

417b

0.13b

850b

734d

77

AL

697d

205d

0.07b

902b

888c

24

MO

731c

264d

0.29b

995a

998a

30

HM

847a

144f

0.12b

991a

985a

27

GS

666d

328c

0.17b

994a

989a

26

LL

464e

531a

0.06b

994a

949b

30

CSC

792b

191e

0.69a

983a

983a

18

1See Table 2;  2Residual standard deviation

a,b,c,d,eMeans with different superscripts within a column are significantly different (P<0.05)


Dry matter

Maize stover had lower while hominy meal (HM) had higher DM washing losses among the feedstuffs (P<0.05). Among the protein concentrates, CSC had the highest DM washing losses. The a values for MB and GB differed (P<0.05) from that of AB and LB. However, differences (P<0.05) for these two constants were evident for the rest of the feedstuffs. Similarly, the potentially degradable (a + b) portion and 48-hour degradability values for Moringa and hominy meal did not differ.


Figure 1.  DM disappearance of feed stuffs, %

Crude protein

Maize stover had relatively lower disappearance values for a, a + b and 48-hour degradability among the feedstuffs. However, individual values of MO, HM, GB and CSC were higher (P<0.05) than those of AB and MB.


Figure 2.  CP disappearance of feed stuffs, %

In vivo digestibility study

Intake and apparent digestibility coefficients of the rations are presented in Table 8.


Table 8.  Intake and apparent digestibility of experimental diets (LS Means)

Parameter

Treatments*

 

Intake, g/d

LBC

ABC

MBC

GBC

CSC

SE

DM

347a

335b

331c

324d

337ab

4.1

OM

316a

312b

305c

297d

316a

0.50

CP

41.1a

39.6b

39.1b

38.3c

39.8a

0.07

NDF

206b

243a

220ab

221ab

172c

9.06

ADF

141a

148a

135ab

136ab

115b

6.04

Digestibility

 

 

 

 

 

 

DM

0.63

0.62

0.62

0.69

0.68

2.52

OM

0.66

0.65

0.66

0.71

0.71

2.49

CP

0.68b

0.73b

0.71b

0.79a

0.79b

2.01

NDF

0.62

0.66

0.65

0.66

0.60

3.91

ADF

0.57

0.54

0.53

0.57

0.49

4.42

*See Table 1

a,b,cMeans with different superscripts within a row are significantly different at P<0.05


Generally, goats fed GBC had lowest intake values for all parameters except NDF and ADF values where goats on CSC were lowest (P<0.05). The CP digestibility coefficient by goats on GBC was above the other treatments (P<0.05).

Discussion

DM degradability

Maize stover used in the present study had a low 48h DM degradability, a low a-value and low degradation rate. The values are supported by other experiments carried out by Kimbi (1997); Nherera et al (1998) and Mgheni et al (2001). The high NDF and ADF values were probably due to high cellulose, hemicelluloses and lignin contents. Mgheni et al (2001) evidenced this in another experiment, where the low water soluble fraction (a), high insoluble but potentially degradable fraction (b) and low rate of degradation (c) for DM, Predicted Dry Matter Intake (PFDM) and N are common for maize stover. On the other hand, hominy meal had higher washing loss and rate constant values due to its relatively low NDF and ADF contents.

The DM degradability values for the protein feedstuffs in the present study were similar to those of Kaitho et al (1998). However, Albizia had slightly lower values compared to results from other studies. Larbi et al (1996) for example, reported a potentially degradable portion and rate constant of 622 g/kg DM and 0.081 h-1, respectively, while Ramana et al (2000) reported a value of 623 g/kg DM for the 48-hour degradability value. The 48-hour degradability and rate constant values for Gliricidia obtained in the present study were higher compared to results by Khamseekhiew et al (2001) who obtained 775 g/kg DM and 0.180 h-1 respectively. Other authors (El Hassan et al 2000) reported 860 g/kg DM (48-hour DM degradability), 613 g/kg DM (potentially degradable portion) and 0.036 h-1 (rate constant) for Leucaena leucocephala. However, no comparable values for Moringa oleifera were found.

The washing losses for Moringa and Gliricidia did not differ significantly possibly due to relatively similar NDF and ADF values. The relatively high NDF content of Albizia meant that most of the DM was in form of cell walls and therefore not easily available to the rumen microbes. The relatively low 48-hour degradability value of Albizia showed highest NDF value of all the other leaf meal based concentrate. It is obthrr hand, the low 48-hour degradability value in Leucaena was possibly due to the presence of secondary anti nutritive compounds (e.g. tannins). A number of authors (Wheeler et al 1994 and Stewart et al 1998) have reported the presence of varying amounts of secondary compounds (alkaloids, tannins, mimosines and phenols) in Leucaena leucocephala and implicated them in its low degradability values within the rumen.

CP degradability

The low washing losses (a), slowly degradable (b) and 48-hour degradability of CP maize stover were expected. The values obtained in the present study are in line with results by Abdulrazak et al (1997) who reported 810 g/kg DM (potential degradability) and 0.020 h-1 (rate constant) for maize stover.

The stover was generally high in NDF and ADF. Most of the nitrogen in maize stover was therefore mainly bound to the cell walls and thus mostly unavailable to microbial enzymatic attack. This is supported by the findings of Nherera et al (1998) who noted the level of N bound to NDF maize stover, as NDIN of about 870 g/kg DM while that bound to ADF, as ADIN of about 560 g/kg DM. This implies that such nitrogen would be available to the rumen microbes only after long periods of exposure of stovers to microbial enzymes in the rumen. Conversely, hominy meal showed high values for the washing losses, 48-hour degradability and rate constant because of its relatively low ADF value. Hence, most of the nitrogen was readily available and very little was bound to ADF.

The CP degradability of the protein sources, except for Albizia, were high (>940 g/kg DM) at 48-hours. Values reported from previous studies, close to results in the present study, include those by Kamatali et al (1992), who reported 846 g/kg DM and 0.035 g/h, for potentially degradable portion and rate constant, respectively of Leucaena. Kaitho et al (1998) and El Hassan et al (2000) also reported values close to those in the present study for Leucaena. Khamseekhiew et al (2001) reported 897 g/kg DM and 0.10 g/h for the potentially degradable portion and rate constant, respectively of Gliricidia. Kombe (1999) reported slightly higher values in CSC of 594 g/kg DM and 989 g/kg DM for both the slowly and potentially degradable portions, respectively.

Moringa, Gliricidia and CSC showed relatively high washing losses and 48-hour degradability values compared to Leucaena, indicating that most of the available N was readily available to microbial attack. This was especially true for CSC, which in spite of its slightly higher NDF value had relatively high rate constant (Table 7). The possible effect of secondary compounds on release of CP in Leucaena is again manifested by the slightly lower value for 48-hour degradability value and rate constant.

Nutrient digestibility

In the digestibility trial, supplementation with the leaf meals had significant effect (P<0.05) on apparent digestibility of DM, OM, NDF and ADF. The OM digestibility coefficients of leaf meal based supplements were lower compared to the CSC and this is supported by its highest value of the same in its chemical composition. In addition, the supplements based on protein sources other than CSC had lower ADF values and thus were more digestible. Forages with low cell wall constituents have been reported to be of high digestibility (Tolera and Sundstøl 2000). The slightly lower fibre contents in supplements fed to animals in other treatments therefore favoured the high OM digestibility which was however not statistically different from that of goats fed the control diet.

The results from these experiments proved that when poor quality crop residues such as maize stover is not treated chemically or otherwise prior to supplementation response of animals' performance is poorly expressed. In this study the average daily gain (ADG) of 27g per day was lower than where similar study using cross bred growing dairy goats with urea treated maize stover supplemented with leucaena leaf meal and cotton seed cake realized ADG of 40 g per day (Ndemanisho et al 1998). Various types of supplements (MPTS, fish meal and seed cakes) has been used as supplements in goats fed high fibre basal roughage, such as maize stover (Mgheni et al 1993). Since the feeding value of the stover in this study was very low, in order to increase its production potential improvement method strategies like chemical treatment together with the browse supplementation are inevitable. According to Mgheni et al (1993) where same cross bred growing goats were used, a control diet of urea sprayed rice straw was used, but ADG was 3.3 g per day which shows that potential for these animals to gain lower or better weights is there when they are not or are effectively supplemented. For instance, goats that were eating urea treated rice straw supplemented with fish meal grew up to ADG of 49 g per day (Mgheni et al (1993). Other findings using wood ash to treat rice straw (Mtamakaya 2002; Kimario 2003) have been effective in improving the nutrients digestibility of the latter and would be cheaper to afford by small scale farmers than other conventional treatment methods

Conclusions

Acknowledgement

The authors wish to thank The International Foundation for Science (IFS) and the government of Kenya for their financial support and Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) for their facility to carry out the study.

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Received 10 March 2006; Accepted 19 April 2007; Published 3 August 2007

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