University of Limpopo
David Brown is a PhD student and a part-time lecturer at the University of Limpopo (Republic of South Africa). His PhD is entitled “Evaluation of mixtures of Acacia karroo leaf meal and SeteriaVerticillata hay for indigenous Pedi goat production in Limpopo province of South Africa. His study will generate information on the utilization of tanninferousAcacia karroo leaf meal by indigenous Pedi goat during the critical dry season. He is an agro-entrepreneur having been exposed to intensive practical-based training by Israelis expertise from University of Jerusalem, in the following areas: vegetable farming, poultry production, aquaculture, beekeeping and agricultural business.
Acacia karroo is regarded as a multipurpose tree with great potential for increasing goat productivity and can be considered as a cheap source of protein in communal goat production despite the presence of condensed tannins in the leaves. A study was conducted to determine preference intake and relative palatability indices ofAcaciakarroo fed to 5 growing male Pedi goats with an average body weight of 19.81 ± 1.83kg. A cafeteria feeding approach was used, thus, permitting free access to the diet of their choice. The position of the troughs was randomized each day to avoid “habit reflex”. Acacia karroo was offered simultaneously with Setariaverticillata hay in a mixed diet at five different levels (Diet 1: S80K20, Diet 2: S75K25, Diet 3: S70K30, Diet 4: S60K40 and Diet 5: S50K50) for a period of 23 days. The daily relative palatability index (RPI) obtained for each diet were subjected to analysis of variance with feeds as treatments and individual animals as replicates in a completely randomized design. Significant differences (P<0.05) in RPI among the diets were observed. Preference rankings (i.e. 1st to 5th) for the diets produced the following order: diet 5> diet 4> diet 3> diet 2> diet 1. Diet 5 appeared to be the most preferred by goats with RPI of 96.91%. Palatability indices were positively and significantly (P<0.05) predicted from dry matter intake of goats (r2 = 0.71). Similarly, intake and palatability indices of the diets related positively (P<0.05) with the nutrient and tannin contents. Result of this study indicates that tannin-rich plant when fed as a mixed diet can influence preference and intake by small ruminants. Toxin dilution could be a salient reason why ruminant animals select a mixed diet rather than a sole feed rich in secondary plant metabolites. Palatability studies could be used in designing supplemental feeding programs for ruminant livestock in the tropics.
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