Effects of coconut oil on the weight and blood status of grazing cattle fed concentrate as supplementary feed
This study was conducted to determine the effect of coconut oil inclusion on the supplementary feed intake, weight gain, haematology and serum biochemistry of grazing cattle. Twenty-five (25)White Fulani cattle weighing 138±2.21 kg were randomly allotted to five treatment groups of coconut oil administration (0 g/day, 50 g/day, 100 g/day, 150 g/day and 200 g/day) in a completely randomised design. The animals were grazed for 84 days and supplemented with concentrate throughout the experimental period. Data on feed intake, weight gain and blood profile of cattle were analysed using one-way analysis of variance. Results obtained showed that coconut oil did not affect (P>0.05) the supplementary concentrate intake of grazing cattle. Lower (P<0.05) weight gain was observed with animals fed coconut oil at 50 g/day (9.64 kg) but increased to 17.64 kg with 150 g/day. Packed cell volume, haemoglobin and white blood cells were not affected (P>0.05) by coconut oil. The highest (P<0.05) red blood cell (6.91×1012/L) and platelet counts (67.00×109/L) were recorded at 150 g/day coconut oil. Total cholesterol, HDL and LDL values were increased (P<0.05) with increasing levels of coconut oil. Values obtained for HDL (166.00 mg/dL to 145.15 mg/dL) and LDL (135.00 mg/dL to 88.40 mg/dL) decreased when the level of oil was increased from 150g/day to 200g/day. Administering coconut oil up to 150 g/day is recommended as it increases the bodyweight gain of cattle andmaintain the normal PCVand haemoglobin concentration of the animals.