Original Articles

The nutritional value of Zizyphus spina-christi for goat production among the pastoralists of Kalu district, South Wello, Ethiopia


Abstract

Fifteen yearling goats of similar weight were used to evaluate the potential of Zizyphus spina-christi leaves as a supplement to goats fed on Cynodon dactylon grass. Animals were randomly assigned to five feeding regimes and individually stall-fed for a preliminary period of 14 days, followed by 14 days of feeding to determine dry matter intake and digestibility and a 3-month feeding period to determine body weight changes. The treatments were formulated based on leaf:grass ratios of 0%, 25%, 50%, 75% and 100%. Z. spina-christi leaves had higher crude protein and lower fibre content than C. dactylon grass (P < 0.05). Dry matter intake, digestibility and body weight changes increased significantly (P < 0.05) as the level of supplementation increased. Thus, Z. spina-christi foliage is a potential feed supplement in the dry season, as the dry season grasses are deficient in the required nutrients and cannot meet goat requirements.

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