Performance response in goats fed shed leaves (Vitellaria paradoxa-, Gmelina arborea- and Daniella oliveri-) based diets
The present study was conceived with the aim of encouraging utilization of environmental wastes in the form of shed tree leaves for livestock feeds production. Three complete isonitrogenous (15.45 ± 0.17 % CP) diets, each constituted from shed leaves of Vitellaria paradoxa, Gmelina arborea or Daniella olliveri tree plus corn bran, soy bean meal, bone meal and sodium chloride, were evaluated through laboratory and nutritional studies for their suitability as complete diets for goat production. The diets were analyzed for dry matter and chemical contents while their feeding values were assessed in a 56-day growth and nutrients digestibility trial with goats. The three shed leaves-based diets were found to be similar in dry matter content but differed (P < 0.05) in the levels of crude protein, Neutral Detergent Fiber (NDF), calcium, phosphorous and condensed tannins. Results from the feeding trial indicated significant (P < 0.05) effects of treatments on feed intake, body weight gain and nitrogen retention in the goats. Goats on Gmelina shed leaves-based diet gained in body weight at a slower rate (P < 0.05) than the other treatment groups. No adverse effect on the general well being and behaviour of goats attributable to treatments was discernible during the 56-day feeding trial. Results of both the laboratory and feeding trials confirmed the hypothesis that each of the three shed leaves could be utilized to provide nutrients for goat production. In terms of feeding values to the goats the dried forages were ranked in the order: Vitellaria > Daniella > Gmelina.
Keywords: shed tree leaves; complete feed; goat