Livestock Research for Rural Development 30 (3) 2018 Guide for preparation of papers LRRD Newsletter

Citation of this paper

The effect of haulms of groundnut and cowpea supplementations on growth performance of Abergelle goats

Desta Tekle and Gebreslassie Gebru

Abergelle Agricultural Research Center, P O Box 44, Abyi Addi, Tigray, Ethiopia


An on-farm experiment was conducted in Tanqua Abergelle district, northern Ethiopia with objective to evaluate the effect of haulms of groundnut ( Arachis hypogaea L.) and cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L.Walp) supplementations on growth performance of Abergelle goats fed a basal diet of indigenous browse tree species. Twenty two farmers who provided three similar in weight intact male yearling Abergelle goats participated in the study. The initial body weight of experimental goats was 13.3+2.98 kg (mean + standard deviation). This study used randomized complete block design with three treatments and 22 replications. The treatments were either groundnut haulm (GH) or cowpea haulm (CH) supplemented at a level of 300 g/day and control (Ctl), without supplementation. Each farmer received all treatments. Chemical analysis was done by both proximate and detergent methods. The crude protein (CP) contents of the GH and CH were 144 and 156 g/kg DM, respectively. Statistical analysis was undertaken using the general linear model procedure of SAS version 9.0. Organic matter, CP and acid detergent fibre intake were higher (p<0.0001) in CH than in GH. Final body weight and average daily gain were similar between goats supplemented with GH and CH, and they were higher ( p<0.0001) than for goats in Ctl. Moreover, both supplements are easily available in the local areas at small holder farmers' level. Therefore, it can be concluded that supplementation of either GH or CH at the rate of 300 g/day/head are recommended as alternative source of protein supplements during the dry season for moderate weight gain of browsing Abergelle goats.

Key words: browsing, dry season, moderate weight gain and protein supplements


In Ethiopia, small ruminants usually suffer from feed shortage and nutrition (Gizaw et al 2010; Tesfay et al 2012). Crop residues (mainly from cereal crops) and natural pastures are the major feed resources in Tanqua Abergelle district of northern Ethiopia (Gebremariam and Belay 2016). Small ruminant are largely made to graze/browse on natural pastures. But, the natural pastures are markedly declined their nutritional value during dry season. Similarly, the residues from cereal crops are of low nutritive value and also less consumable (Singh et al 2011). Supplementation with concentrate feeds or improved forage legumes can improved the feeding value of such feed resources. However, concentrates are costly and may not be easily accessible to smallholder farmers (Tolera et al 2000). On the other hand, improved forages are not widely utilized as feed source in Tanqua Abergelle district (Gebremariam and Belay 2016). Therefore, providing a research looking at easily practically applicable available and cheap supplemental feed options for small ruminants particularly during the dry season is important.

Residues of food legume crops are relatively high in crude protein (CP), eg. Tolera (2008) reported that CP values of 11.4% for groundnut haulm compared to 5.6% for sorghum stover (residues of cereal crops) and can serves as supplements (Yami 2008). Previous studies by Mokoboki et al (2000) and Anelea et al (2010) indicated that cowpea ( Vigna unguiculata L.Walp) haulm can be utilized as a supplement for ruminants in the dry season. Similarly, Osafo et al (2013) observed improved intake and digestibility of poor quality fodder with supplementation of cowpea haulm. According to Abdou et al (2011), positive live weight gains were found in sheep when supplemented with groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.) haulm. In Tanqua Abergelle district both the cowpea and groundnut are cultivated as cash crops. However, the haulms of those legume crops are not well conserved in the area and consequently, their utilization as supplementary value is under expected. In addition, in context of Ethiopia, little or no research related to their effect on performance of small ruminants particularly goats is conducted. Therefore, the objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of haulms of groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.) and cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L.Walp) supplementations on growth performance of Abergelle goats fed a basal diet of indigenous browse tree species.

Materials and methods

Description of study area

The experiment was conducted on-farm at Hadinet village in Tanqua Abergelle district in Tigray region of northern Ethiopia. The district is located at 13014'06'' N latitude and 38058'50'' E longitude. The climate is categorized as hot to warm sub-moist with an altitude ranging from 1300 to 1800 masl. The annual mean rainfall is between 400 and 600 mm while the mean temperature is between 28 and 42 0C. The dominant soil type of the study area is sandy loam. Farming system of the area is mainly mixed crop livestock production system (TAOARD 2015).

Farmers' selection

Voluntary farmers who can provide individually three similar in weight intact male yearling Abergelle goats and who were also managed their goats in similar ways were first purposely selected. Again, among those 22 farmers were randomly chosen. The age of the goats was identified using their dentition and information obtained from the owners.

Experimental design and treatments

The initial body weight of experimental goats was 13.3+2.98 kg (mean + standard deviation). This study used randomized complete block design with three treatments and 22 replications. Each farmer received all treatments. The treatments were either groundnut haulm (GH) or cowpea haulm (CH) supplemented at a level of 300 g/day and control (Ctl), without supplementation. All experimental goats were fed a basal diet of indigenous browse tree species.

Supplemental feeds preparation

The required quantities of groundnut and cowpea haulms were collected from farmers in Tanqua Abergelle district, northern Ethiopia. The groundnut and cowpea haulms included all parts of the plant remaining after the pods have been removed. The collected haulms were allowed air drying under shed condition on floor covered with plastic sheet and then mixed thoroughly to keep uniformity. Subsequently, the haulms were weighed, and packed based on the amount needed for daily offer per head and finally distributed to the beneficiaries.

Farmer training and management of experimental animals

Training included supplements provision, record keeping, housing management and health care of the experimental goats was given for all selected farmers. Experimental goats were ear tagged for easily of identification. They were treated against internal and external parasite using albendazole (7.5 mg kg−1 weight, ingested through the mouth) and ivermectin (0.2 mg kg−1 weight, administered through subcutaneous injection), respectively. They were also vaccinated against ovine pasteurellosis which is one of the most common disease in the area. Each experimental goat were handled in separate pens fitted with feeding troughs during the supplement feeding. The experimental goats were fed the dietary treatments for 90 days after 14 days of adaptation period. The supplement was provided to individual goat twice a day at equal portions at 8:00 am and 16:00 pm. Each experimental goat were accessed fresh water near their browsing site.

Supplement intake and body weight measurements

During the experimental period, quantities of supplement offers and refusals, body weight measurements (initial, weekly and final body weights) were recorded. The supplement DM intake was calculated as difference between amounts of supplement offered and amounts of supplement refused on DM basis. Average daily gain (ADG) was calculated by subtracting initial body weight from final body weight and then after dividing it to the number of feeding days.

Chemical analysis

Representative samples of groundnut and cowpea offers and refusals were prepared for chemical analysis. Dry matter (DM), Ash and N content of the samples were analyzed using the procedures outlined by AOAC (2005). The CP was determined by N content multiplied by 6.25. Neutral detergent fibre (NDF), acid detergent fibre (ADF) and acid detergent lignin (ADL) of the samples were analyzed according to detergent method of analysis (Van Soest et al 1991). The chemical analysis was done at animal nutrition laboratory in Haramaya University, Ethiopia.

Data analysis

The data obtained from the study were subjected to analysis of variance (ANOVA) using the general linear model procedure of SAS version 9.0 (SAS 2004). Significant treatment means were compared using Tukey’s studentized range (HSD) test. The statistical model used for the data analysis was:

Yij= μ + τi + βj + εij, where

Yij= response variable

μ= overall mean

τi= effect of treatment i

βj= effect of block j and

εij= random error

Results and discussion

Chemical composition

Result of chemical analysis in this study showed that CH contained relatively higher organic matter (OM), CP, ADF and ADL but it had relatively lower NDF than GH (Table 1). The CP of GH in this study was comparable to value reported by Jonathan (2015). Moreover, the CP value of CH in this study was similar with value reported by Henry (2016) for haulm of cowpea (Zaayura variety). Variations in chemical composition of haulms could be occurred due to differences in crop type, varieties, harvesting stages, soil fertility, fertilizer applications, agro ecology and drying process.

Table 1. Chemical composition of supplemental feeds (g/kg DM except for DM which is on air-dry basis)

Supplemental feeds





















GH= groundnut haulm; CH= cowpea haulm; DM= dry matter; OM= organic matter; CP= crude protein; NDF= neutral detergent fiber; ADF= acid detergent fiber and ADL= acid detergent lignin.

Intake of supplemental feeds

The offered quantities of supplements for both GH and CH were not completely consumed by the experimental goats. This might be indicated there was difference in quality of the collected haulms. Comparing the nutrient intake only from the supplemental feeds, Abergelle goats supplemented with CH had higher intake of OM, CP and ADF than those goats supplemented with GH (Table 2). The variation observed in the intake of nutrients from the supplements between GH and CH could be due to the relative difference in their chemical composition. The other sources of nutrient intake for the supplemented goats or the major sources of nutrient intake for the unsupplemented group were the browse tree species (which covered the largest portion of the basal diet) like Ziziphus spina-christi, Balanites aegyptiaca, Acacia tortilis, Acacia seyal, Acacia amara, Terminalia brownii and Dichrostachys cinerea.

Table 2. Dry matter and nutrient intake of Abergelle goats from the supplemental feeds

Intake (g/day/head)







Supplement DM






























ab Mean in the same row with different superscript differ significantly at p<0.0001; GH= groundnut haulm supplemented at a level of 300 g/day; CH= cowpea haulm supplemented at a level of 300 g/day; Ctl=control, without supplementation; DM= dry matter; OM= organic matter; CP= crude protein; NDF=neutral detergent fibre; ADF= acid detergent fibre; SEM= standard error mean; p= probability.

Body weight change

Abergelle bucks supplemented with GH and CH had higher final body weight and ADG than those goats on the control diet (Table 3). But, it is observed that regardless of the difference in nutrients intake from GH and CH, their effect on the final body weight and ADG were similar. The weight gain for the supplemented goats in this study was almost comparable to the weight gain reported by Jonathan (2015) for lactating red Sokoto does supplemented with GH included in concentrate mix. It was also comparable to value reported by Tsegaye (2009) for grazing local goats supplemented with concentrate mix (composed of wheat bran and noug seed cake at 53 and 47%, respectively). On the other hand, the weight gain of supplemented Abergelle goats in this study is higher than weight gains found on-station research for the same breed fed a basal diet of grass hay supplemented with foliages of indigenous browse tree (Weldemariam 2008) or treated Acacia saligna leaves (Belay and Tesfay 2011). This reflected that the effect of supplementation on weight gain for Abergelle goats is more pronounced with browsing than with confined feeding of grass hay as a basal diet.

Table 3. Body weight change of Abergelle goats supplemented with haulms of groundnut and cowpea








IBW (kg)






FBW (kg)






ADG (g/day)






ab mean in the same row with different superscript differ significantly at p<0.0001; IBW= initial body weight; FBW= final body weight; ADG= average daily gain; GH= groundnut haulm supplemented at a level of 300 g/day; CH= cowpea haulm supplemented at a level of 300 g/day; Ctl=control, without supplementation; SEM= standard error of mean, p= probability.


Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


The authors are greatly thankful to Tigray agricultural research institution (TARI) for funding the research work. The authors also forward their acknowledgement to Mr. Haftom Zebib for his valuable contribution during the implementation stage of the study and to the participant farmers for their unreserved help for management of their experimental goats according to the assigned dietary treatments.


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Received 20 January 2018; Accepted 5 February 2018; Published 1 March 2018

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