Growth Performance and Digestibility of Growing West African Dwarf Goats Fed Bamboo Leaves and Supplementary Diets Containing Varying Levels of Cashew Nut Shell
Sixteen (16) growing West African dwarf bucks aged between 6 and 9 months of age, with a weight range of 6.16 – 6.33 kg were used in a feeding trial to evaluate the digestibility and performance of growing West African dwarf goats, fed varying dietary levels of cashew nutshell. The goats were fed diets containing varying levels of cashew nut shell at 0%, 10%, 15% and 20% for treatments T1, T2, T3 and T4, respectively, at 100 g/goat/day. The goats were fed bamboo leaves at 200 g/goat/day one hour before the concentrate was fed. Water was provided ad libitum. The experiment lasted for 50 days after a preliminary feeding period of 7 days. In the last 14 days of the experiment, the goats were moved into metabolic crates for feacal collection which lasted for seven days. Samples of the supplementary diets and the bamboo leaves were analyzed for their proximate composition using standard methods. The experimental design was a complete randomized design. Data were analyzed by a one-way analysis of variance, with the aid of SPSS 16. The values for all the performance parameters except forage intake were all significant (P<0.05). The values for total dry matter intake, daily weight gain and feed conversion ratio ranged between 134.71 and 196.95 g, 6.00 and 14.00 g and 14.07 and 22.45, respectively. The crude fibre digestibility decreased steadily from 51.65% (T1) to 40.50% (T4) and were significantly (p<0.05) different. All the other digestibility parameters were significantly (p<0.05) different, except that of ether extracts. The dry matter digestibility values ranged from 72.65% (T4) to 84.55% (T1). It was therefore concluded that the digestibility values obtained indicated that the diets were all suitable for ruminants. 10% level of inclusion of cashew nut shell in supplementary diets for growing West African Dwarf goats was recommended since it enhanced the growth performance and digestibility of the goats.
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