Indirect effect of Moringa oleifera supplemented diet on growth rates of pre-weaning boer goat kids
The objective of this study was to evaluate the indirect effects of feeding Moringa oleifera (M. oleifera) supplemented diet on growth rates in pre-weaning kids. Namibia being a semi-arid and driest country in Africa south of the Sahel, lactating does are challenged with acquiring the required amount of forage in the rangelands to meet milk production and nutritional needs for their kids. This scarcity of forage along with the low nutritional quality of the available grasses and/or browses creates the need for supplementing lactating does with nutritionally-rich fodders. A completely randomized block design (CRBD) was used with four inclusion levels of M. oleifera supplemented diets and four replicates of does in each level to determine if the growth parameters differ with levels of M. oleifera. A total of 16 lactating does were used for this study with 20 kids since four does had twins. The present study revealed that there were significant differences (P < 0.05) in heart girth, body length and weight of kids which were measured as growth rate parameters along with body condition scores (BCS). Although Boer goats are known for their fast growth under favorable conditions, feed supplementation of pregnant and lactating does could be advantageous for maximum milk production to support their kids’ healthy early growth and development especially under unfavorable conditions such as during winter and drought. Therefore, in a semi-arid drought persistent country like Namibia, M. oleifera would bring a possible solution for animal supplementation during drought and winter periods since M. oleifera grows very fast and produces more biomass per hectare; thus, alleviating farmer’s stress of purchasing feed-supplement during pregnancy and lactation period.
Key words: Growth rates, kids, lactating does, Moringa oleifera, supplemented diet