A nutritional and economic evaluation of Moringa oleifera leaf meal as a dietary supplement in West African Dwarf goats
Moringa oleifera leaves may have the potential to enhance nutritional status, growth performance, and health of ruminant animals when used as part of their diets. However, the nutritional value of the leaves for goats is largely unknown and needs to be investigated. Consequently, eighteen West African Dwarf (WAD) bucks weighing 7.0 ± 0.33 kg were used in a completely randomized design to evaluate the effects of diluting a conventional supplement with three levels of M. oleifera leaf meal (MOLM) on growth performance, haematology, and blood biochemical constituents. The MOLM was included in the commercial supplement at a rate of 0, 50, and 100 g/kg dry matter (DM). Including MOLM in the supplement did not significantly affect weight gain, dry matter intake, and metabolic weight gain of bucks. Packed cell volume (PCV), red blood cell (RBC), haemoglobin concentration (hb), and total protein were not significantly influenced by MOLM inclusion, either. However, blood urea concentration was significantly increased in bucks that were offered MOLM-based diets. All blood parameters, as well as alanine transaminase (ALT) and urea, were within the normal reference ranges for clinically healthy goats. The MOLM-based supplements had significantly lower feed cost per kilogram of weight gain and higher profit per kilogram of gain. It was concluded that diluting the commercial supplement with MOLM up to 100 g/kg DM does not impair the nutritional status, growth performance and health status of the goats while reducing the feed cost per gain.
Keywords: Cost, feed, growth, health, nutrition