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Ameliorative effects of Ficus and Harrisonia diets on Small East African goat meat yield

Nampanzira, Dorothy Kalule, Kabasa, John David, Katongole, Constantine Bakyusa, Okello, Sam, Tabuti, John Robert Stephen
Small ruminant research 2017 v.153 pp. 189-193
Ficus natalensis, animal feeding, average daily gain, carcass weight, carcass yield, crude protein, dressing percentage, energy, farms, goat meat, goats, males, molasses, pastures, protein supplements
The effect of supplements based on Ficus natalensis and Harrisonia abyssinica foliages on intake, growth and carcass yield of tethered goats was assessed on-farm using fourty growing intact male indigenous goats. Five diets were tested, which included the control (tethering on natural pastures), tethering supplemented with molasses (CM) and the three diets whereby tethering was supplemented with molasses as well as F. natalensis and H. abyssinica as follows: Harrisonia⁄ molasses (HM), Ficus⁄molasses (FM) and Ficus⁄Harrisonia⁄molasses (FHM). The supplements were formulated to supply crude protein (CP) and energy levels required for an average daily gain of about 50g/day. Four farms in the same geographical location were used. Each farm had all the five diets with two goats per diet. The goats were tethered during the day (10:00–18:00h) and the supplements offered overnight (after tethering). The dry matter (DM) intake from tethering ranged between 124 and 162g/day, and was not affected (P>0.05) the basal DM intake. However, the total DM and CP intakes were increased (P<0.05) by supplementation with the browse foliages. The total DM and CP intakes were highest (P<0.05) for FM (572 and 91g/day, respectively) and FHM (638 and 102g/day, respectively). Compared with the control, supplementation with browse foliages increased (P<0.05) the average daily gain, hot carcass weight and dressing percentage by up to 37.2, 2.3 and 6%, respectively. Average daily gain was 17, 34, 45, 52 and 54g/day for control, CM, FM, HM and FHM, respectively. The hot carcass weight was 6.9, 8.2, 8.8, 9.1 and 9.2kg for control, CM, FM, HM and FHM, respectively. In conclusion, Ficus natalensis and Harrisonia abyssinica foliages have the potential to be used as low cost protein supplements in low-input goat feeding systems. However, there is need to establish best presentation methods of the browse foliages to the goats.