Full Project – Effect of feeding frequency on nutrient digestibility of west african dwarf goats

Full Project – Effect of feeding frequency on nutrient digestibility of west african dwarf goats

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Livestock plays a very important role as an integral part of farming and rural life in developing countries; providing food and the critical cash reserve and income for many farmers who grow crops essentially for subsistence purposes (Preston and Leng, 1987). In the rural areas where most of the resource poor farmers in Africa live, goats play an important socio-economic role and form an integral part of the cultural life system of Nigeria’s peasantry (Ajala, 2004). Goats are multipurpose animals producing meat, milk, skin and hairs (French, 1970). Goat meat is widely accepted and consumed in Nigeria because there is no taboo against it (Peacock, 1996). The demand for goat meat is very high especially in rural areas where it often commands higher market price than beef (Odeyinka, 2000). The meat from goat is preferable to those from other animal species because of its flavour, tenderness and palatability (Idiong and Orok, 2008). They are indispensable in marriage and religious rites (Gefu et al., 1994) and are an insurance against crop failure (Mattewman, 1980). In southern Nigeria, goats are a ready source of family income and a good medium to establish friendship or restore peace in a community (Idiong and Udom, 2011). The West African dwarf (WAD) goat is a predominantly indigenous breed found in southern Nigeria (Odeyinka, 2000).The West African dwarf (WAD) goats occurring in the tropical forest belt of West Africa are small sized breeds with 10-30kg weight.They mature early and breed all year round (Bitto and Egbunike, 2006). Litter size is 1.5 to 2.0 (Odubote, 1994; Baiden, 2007). The West African Dwarf goat is an important local breed having adapted to the high temperature, humid, and tsetse fly infested rainforest habitat (Fajemilehin and Salako, 2008). Rearing of goats provides a small but nevertheless significant supply of animal protein in the form of milk and meat. Goat meat is expensive and popular and can be utilized to satisfy the increasing demand for animal protein. The milk itself can form the basis for a range of products as well. Goats can consume a wide range of plant material and thrive under harsh conditions, cost less to keep and compete well with its traditional rival, the dairy cow.

One of the major factors limiting the productivity of small ruminants in developing countries is the over-dependence on low digestible feedstuffs which at certain periods of the year may not meet even the maintenance requirements of these animals. Jayasuriya (2002) categorized these feed resources as high fibre, low protein feeds having organic matter digestibility between 30% and 45 % and they include native grasses, crop residues and fibrous agro-industrial waste products. These also formed the bulk of the feed consumed by small ruminants in tropical countries since they are produced in large quantities and are relatively cheap, also, they are not competed for by man or monogastric animals. The dry season result in a rapid decline in the quantity and quality of forage leading to low forage intake and digestibility with resultant low animal performance.

The price of conventional sources of protein in livestock ration has risen exorbitantly and this has necessitated the search for cheaper alternative feed resources that can meet the nutritional requirements of farm animals. These alternative feedstuffs should not be in high demand by humans and should be cheap (Ahamefule, 2002). Also, Preston and Leng (1987) stated that the poor condition of livestock in the tropics is more likely as a result of inefficient digestion in the rumen and inefficient utilization of the nutrients absorbed from low quality feeds. However, in recent years there has been a growing interest in many tropical countries to identify potentially important feed sources among shrubs and trees for inclusion in the ruminant diet to provide green fodder that is high in protein to supplement the available low protein forage. This has been recognized as one of the most effective means of improving animal performance in smallholder livestock production (Blair, 1989). Ranjbar (2007) also mentioned that forages have important role in ruminant nutrition in terms of providing energy, protein and minerals as well as fibre for chewing and rumination.

Digestibility refers to the digestible part of feeds or nutrient that is the proportion which is absorbed by the animal, which is not exceeded in the feaces. Digestibility study is necessary, especially when improvements in performance, entire well-being and profitability or any other necessary parameters are desired. These improvements can be obtained by adjusting diet formulation, considering the effect of digestibility of nutrients and energy of the feeds on broilers. (Lima, 2008). The usual method of quantity and quality dietary feed is to conduct digestibility studies. Though the potential value of a feed for supplying a particular nutrient can be determined by chemical analysis, but the actual value of the food to the animal can be arrived at only after making allowance for the inevitable losses that occur during digestion, absorption and metabolism (McDonald et al.,1998).

To complement concentrate supplement, Feeding frequency and feed management is also an important facet of livestock production, especially when goats are raised under the intensive or semi-intensive system. The sum of the daily feed intake, rate and time of feedings and presentation of the encoded ration are the major factors in feed management that influence the growth and feed conversion ratio (Jobling, 1995; Goddard, 1995). Feeding fish at a suitable frequency would enhance their growth and survival because their feed intake is regulated in relation to their energy demand (Schnaittacher et al., 2005). In addition, feeding at the optimal frequency can result in marvellous savings in the cost of feed (Davies et al., 2006). In this study, feed concentrate was fed to the experimental WAD goats at different frequency under an intensive system of management cum nutrient digestibility.

1.1       Justification

Digestibility is a measure of that portion of a feed which is not recovered in the feaces and is therefore considered to have been absorbed and assimilated that is, put into use by the animal (Ositelu, 1980). Most of the nutrient digestibility and feeding frequency were conducted with fish as  Booth and Stewart Fielder (2008) studied the effect of feeding frequency and fish size on weight gain, feed intake and gastric evacuation in juvenile Australian snapper. A few studies of nutrient intake and digestibility of West African dwarf goat bucks fed poultry waste-cassava peels based diets were conducted (Ukanwoko and Ibeawuchi, 2009). Also Aguayo-Ulloa et al (2013) also studied the effect of feeding frequency during finishing on lamb welfare, production performance and meat quality. Following all these effects of feeding frequency on nutrient digestibility of West African dwarf bucks have not being carried out. Supplementing this few available grasses and crop residues with feed concentrate, this work tends to examine the different feeding frequencies and its effect on the level of digestibility for a period of 84 days.

1.2       Objectives of the study

1.2.1    General objective

To determine the effect of feeding frequency on nutrient digestibility of West African dwarf goats fed concentrate supplement and groundnut haulms ad-libitum.

1.2.2 Specific objective

To determine the nutrient digestibility of West African dwarf goats placed on once, twice, and thrice feeding frequencies.


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Full Project – Effect of feeding frequency on nutrient digestibility of west african dwarf goats