Intake, digestibility, and nitrogen balance in hair sheep fed Pennisetum purpureum supplemented with tropical tree foliage

  • Hassem Rodriguez-Villanueva
  • José Puch-Rodríguez
  • Juan Muñoz-González
  • José Sanginés-García
  • Edgar Aguilar-Urquizo
  • Alfonso Chay-Canul
  • Fernando Casanova-Lugo
  • Guillermo Jiménez-Ferrer
  • José Alayon-Gamboa
  • Angel Piñeiro-VázquezEmail author


The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of inclusion of tropical tree foliage on intake, digestibility, and nitrogen balance in sheep fed with a diet based on fresh chopped Pennisetum purpureum. Four male Pelibuey sheep were used, with an average live weight of 22 ± 1.5 kg, distributed in a (4 × 4) Latin square design. Treatments were P. purpureum (T1), P. purpureum + Brosimum alicastrum (T2), P. purpureum + Guazuma ulmifolia (T3), and P. purpureum + Piscidia piscipula (T4). Tree foliage was incorporated into the ration at a proportion rate of 300 g/kg of dry matter (DM). Intake, digestibility, and nitrogen balance were measured during 24 h periods for 7 days. DM intake, organic matter (OM), and crude protein (CP) intakes were not affected (P > 0.05) by including tree foliage (an average of 892.7, 784.2, and 88.9 g/day, respectively). OM and CP digestibility was similar among treatments (P > 0.05). Nevertheless, digestibility of DM and NDF was lower (P < 0.05) in T2 and T4 than in T1 (DM = 570, 560, and 662.5 g/kg; NDF = 687.0, 650.9, and 772.1 g/kg, respectively). We conclude that providing 30% of the ration in DM of foliage of B. alicastrum, G. ulmifolia, and P. piscipula improves CP intake and reduces NDF intake, thereby improving digestibility of OM, CP in sheep, which indicates that the foliage of these tree species may be used as a protein supplement during the dry season in tropical regions.


Dry season Microorganisms Secondary metabolites Supplementation 



We thank the National Technological Institute of Mexico for Financing the Project 6544.18-P, titled “Effect of intake of tropical trees on digestibility, pattern of ruminal fermentation, protozoan population, and production of enteric methane in hair sheep.”

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

We certify that none of the authors have any conflict of interest with any funding organization regarding the material discussed in the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hassem Rodriguez-Villanueva
    • 1
  • José Puch-Rodríguez
    • 1
  • Juan Muñoz-González
    • 2
  • José Sanginés-García
    • 1
  • Edgar Aguilar-Urquizo
    • 1
  • Alfonso Chay-Canul
    • 3
  • Fernando Casanova-Lugo
    • 4
  • Guillermo Jiménez-Ferrer
    • 5
  • José Alayon-Gamboa
    • 6
  • Angel Piñeiro-Vázquez
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Tecnológico Nacional de México/I. T. ConkalConkalMexico
  2. 2.Facultad Maya de Estudios AgropecuariosUniversidad Autónoma de ChiapasCatazajáMexico
  3. 3.División Académica de Ciencias AgropecuariasUniversidad Juárez Autónoma de TabascoVillahermosaMexico
  4. 4.Tecnológico Nacional de México/I. T. Zona MayaOthón P. BlancoMexico
  5. 5.El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR)San Cristóbal de Las CasasMexico
  6. 6.El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, Unidad Campeche, MéxicoCiudad Industrial LermaMexico

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