Blood profiles of indigenous Pedi goats fed varying levels of Vachellia karroo leaf meal in Setaria verticillata hay-based diet
Vachellia karroo (Acacia karroo) is promising fodder for goats in the critical dry season in communal rangelands. The only limitation to the use of this fodder tree is the presence of phenolic compounds, such as condensed tannins. A study was conducted to investigate the effects of tanniniferous V. karroo leaf meal feeding on blood profiles of indigenous Pedi goats fed a basal diet of Setaria verticillata grass hay. Twenty indigenous Pedi goats, weighing 18 ± 2 kg, were allocated in a completely randomized design to five dietary treatments containing V. karroo leaf meal at 20% (S80A20), 25% (S75A25), 30% (S70A30), 40% (S60A40) and 50% (S50A50) of the total diet in a 22-day trial. Twelve ml of blood were collected from the jugular vein from each goat before and after the experiment for haematological and serum biochemical assays. Daily dry matter intake (DMI) was similar across treatments, ranging from 633 g to 765 g per goat per day. There was no difference in initial and final bodyweights of goats consuming various experimental diets. However, bodyweight gains were significantly higher in goats fed a diet with 50% leaf meal as compared with other treatment groups. There were no differences in haematological indices of Pedi goats except for mean corpuscular haemoglobin (Hb) concentration. Goats fed 50% leaf meal had significantly lower mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration (MCHC) values as compared with other treatment groups. Similarly, there were no differences in the blood serum chemistry of goats that consumed various inclusion levels of V. karroo, except for serum total protein (TP) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT). Goats fed 50% leaf meal had depressed serum TP, while serum enzyme Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) concentration decreased significantly in goats fed 25% leaf meal as compared with those on the 20% dietary treatment. Tannin concentration of 8.2 g/kg dry matter (DM) had no toxic effect on experimental animals. A 40 % inclusion of V. karroo in a Setaria verticillata hay-based diet may be fed to indigenous Pedi goats without compromising the immunity system and health of the animals.
Keywords: Condensed tannin, fodder, haematology, serum