In Vivo Digestibility of Molasses-Treated Fresh Banana Leaves (Musa sp.) in West African Dwarf Sheep (Ovis aries)
A study on the intake and in vivo digestibility of untreated and 10% molasses-treated fresh banana leaves in West African Dwarf sheep was conducted at the Teaching and Research Farm and Animal Nutrition Laboratory of the University of Dschang between August and September 2009. For this, six sheep were used and assigned to two groups of three animals each. The control (group 1) received untreated fresh leaves and Group 2 received fresh leaves treated with 10% molasses. Samples of untreated fresh banana leaves and those treated with 10% molasses were collected and taken to the laboratory for analysis of their chemical composition. The sheep were kept in individual digestibility cages. Every morning, before providing a new ration, refusals of each ration were weighed. Similarly, the amounts of feces and urine of each sheep were evaluated and samples were collected and taken to the laboratory for analysis. The results of this study showed that molasses treatment did not affect the crude protein content, and that crude fiber content of untreated leaves was higher (p <0.05) than that of leaves treated with 10% molasses. Dry matter intake was significantly improved by molasses treatment. In addition, the treatment of fresh banana leaves with 10% molasses did not improve the apparent digestibility of dry matter and crude fiber. However, digestibility of nitrogen in fresh banana leaves treated with 10% molasses (75.54%) was significantly higher (p <0.05) than that of untreated fresh banana leaves (69, 55%). Molasses-treated fresh banana leaves therefore improve MS intake and nitrogen digestibility in West African dwarf sheep.
Keywords: West African dwarf sheep, molasses, fresh banana leaves, intake, digestibility.