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Rumen degradation in sheep, goats and cattle and voluntary intake by sheep of four browse species


Two experiments were conducted using dried leaves ofAlchornea cordifolia, Ficus capensis, Manniophytum fulvum andAlbizza niopoides. In Experiment 1, dry matter (DM) degradation characteristics were investigated using thein sacco nylon bag technique in West African Dwarf (WAD) sheep, WAD goats and Bunaji steers. In Experiment 2, voluntary intake of the browse forage when fed as supplements to sheep at 0, 10 and 30% levels was measured. In Experiment 1,A. cordifolia andM. fulvum had significantly higher rapidly degradable DM fraction thanA. niopoides andF. capensis. Averaged across browse species, the extent of DM degradation for sheep (58.3%) was significantly higher than for goat (47.7%) or cattle (44.1%). Ranking order of browse species for the extent of DM degradation was:F. capensis>A. cordifolia=M. fulvum=A. niopoides. In Experiment 2, as the level of supplementation increased from 10 to 30%, voluntary intake ofA. niopoides andM. fulvum increased while voluntary intake ofA. cordifolia andF. capensis declined. The results suggest that dried leaves ofA. niopoides andM. fulvum are more acceptable to WAD sheep than those ofA. cordifolia andF. capensis.

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Smith, J.W., Larbi, A., Jabbar, M.A. et al. Rumen degradation in sheep, goats and cattle and voluntary intake by sheep of four browse species. Agroforest Syst 32, 277–286 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00711715

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Key words

  • dry matter degradation
  • Indigenous browse species
  • fodder quality
  • West African dwarf goats
  • West African dwarf sheep