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On farm evaluation of sun-dried Ziziphus spina-christi leaves substitution for natural pasture hay on feed intake and body weight change of Bati goat breeds in Ethiopia

Ali, Ansha, Tegegne, Firew, Asmare, Bimrew, Mekuriaw, Zeleke
Tropical animal health and production 2019 v.51 no.2 pp. 457-463
Ziziphus spina-christi, animal feeding, average daily gain, body weight changes, diet, dry matter intake, feed conversion, goat breeds, goats, grass hay, leaves, males, mixing, on-farm research, pasture plants, pastures, solar drying, Ethiopia
The study was conducted to evaluate the effect of feeding different levels of sun-dried Ziziphus spina-christi (ZC) leaves on feed intake and live weight gain of local male goats. Twenty-five male local breed of goats at 1 year of age (body weight; BW = 20.7 ± 0.72 kg) were randomly allocated to five treatments and five replications. Treatments were as follows: T1 (grass hay only; control group); T2 (75% grass hay + 25% ZC leaves); T3 (50% grass hay + 50% ZC leaves); T4 (25% grass hay + 75% ZC leaves), and T5 (100% ZC leaves). The study lasted for 90 days. During this period, feed intake, BW change, and average daily gain were evaluated. There was a significant difference in total dry matter intake of goats fed on different levels of ZC leaves compared with the control group. Mixing of the pasture grass hay diet improved (P < 0.05) goats feed intake from 440 to 592 g/head/day at the minimum proportion of 25% ZC and natural pasture mixture. However, there was no significant difference (P > 0.05) in feed intake among the supplemented groups (T2–T5) as ZC leaves proportion increased. Goats in the control group and in the 25% ZC treatment diet gained 31.4 and 46.7 g, which was not different (P > 0.05). The highest average daily BW was gained (P < 0.05) in goats supplemented with the highest level (100%) of ZC leaves. T5 (100% ZC leaves supplementation) showed a significant increment (P < 0.05) in body weight gain of goats over other treatments and the control. Feed conversion ratio was increased (P < 0.05) with increased inclusion level of ZC leaves. Goats on supplemented treatments 1 and 2; treatments 4 and 5 had no significant difference (P > 0.05) in feed conversion efficiency while there was a significant (P < 0.05) difference between treatments 2 and 3 diets which had higher (P < 0.05) feed conversion ratio than the control groups. Generally, the results of the current study showed that supplementation of goats with above 50% level of dried ZC leaves in their diet significantly increased feed intake and body weight gain by improving feed conversion efficiency of goats.