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Rumen fermentation characteristics and blood profile of west African dwarf goats fed urea-treated crop by-products in the dry season
A study was conducted for eighty-four days to determine the rumen microbial population, total volatile fatty acids, ammonia nitrogen, pH and blood parameters of West African Dwarf goats fed urea-treated crop by-products based diets. A total of twenty four West African Dwarf goats were alloted to four dietary treatments containing six goats in a Completely Randomized Design. The experimental diets consist of diet 1. Urea-treated cassava peel based diet (UTCP), diet 2. Urea-treated maize cob based diet (UTMC), diet 3.urea-treated sweet potato peel based diet (UTSP) and diet 4. Urea-treated maize husk based diet (UTMH). At the beginning and end of the experiment blood and rumen fluid were collected from the animals to determine rumen microbial population and blood parameters and in the last three days of the experiment rumen fluid was collected from four goats in each treatment for the determination of rumen pH, total volatile fatty acids and ammonia nitrogen production. Results showed that there was no significant difference (p>0.05) in bacteria and fungi count of the goats before and after the experiment, although there was appreciable increase in bacteria count at the end of the study. The diets significantly (p<0.05) affected the protozoa count with highest (5.17 x102 cell/ml) value obtained in goats fed UTSP and the lowest statistically similar value obtained in goats fed UTMC and UTMH. Rumen ammonia nitrogen was influenced by the experimental diet. The highest value (7.41mg/dl) was obtained from goats on UTSP and the lowest value obtained on goats fed UTMC and UTMH. Serum glucose, ALT and AST were significantly influenced (p<0.05) by the diets. Glucose was lowest in UTMH. All the experimental diets have no deleterious effect on the rumen environment and health status of the goats thus can be fed to them for a normal rumen environment and maintenance of normal health status especially during the period of forage scarcity.