Chemical composition of some forages fed to ruminants in a Semi-arid environment of Kebbi State, Nigeria
This study assessed the chemical compositions of some naturally occurring forages used as ruminant feed during the raining season at Aliero Local Government Area, of Kebbi State. A total of eight (8) pasture species were sampled comprising of four (4) grasses; Pennisetum pedicellatum, Mitracarpus hiristus, Eragrostis tremula and Digiteria alata, three (3) forbs Monechma ciliatum, Commelina banghalensis, Ipomoea kotschyana and one (1) legume; Euphorbia convolvuloides. All the parameters measured showed significant (P<0.05) differences among the treatments. Digitaria alata had the highest dry matter (99.00%) while the highest crude protein (11.93%), nitrogen free extract (52.07%), and ether extract (3.50%) were recorded for Euphorbia convolvuloides. Ipomoea kotschyana had the highest crude fiber (20.50%) and ash (11.50%). The values recorded for the mineral compositions indicated that the legume (Euphorbia convolvuloides) the higher sodium, calcium and magnesium concentrations (132.50 mg/g, 0.85 g/mg and 1.65 mg/g, respectively) while the grass (Mitracarpus hiristus) and the forbs (Monechma ciliatum) species had the highest potassium (4200 mg/g) and phosphorus concentrations (5.18 mg/g) respectively. This study showed that mixture of forages in the diet of ruminants may optimize nutrients and minerals intake for growth and development.
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