1Department of Animal Production, Ministry of Agriculture, Private Bag 0032, Gaborone, Botswana -Department of Animal Science and Production, Botswana College of Agriculture, Private Bag 0027, Gaborone, Botswana
2Department of Animal Science and Production, Botswana College of Agriculture, Private Bag 0027, Gaborone, Botswana
Receive Date: 05 July 2014,
Revise Date: 12 September 2014,
Accept Date: 15 October 2014
The objective of the study was to evaluate chemical composition, in vitro dry matter digestibility (IVDMD), and growth performance of weanling Boer-goats supplemented with cowpea seed hulls (CSH) and commercial concentrate / feed (CF) with natural pasture as basal diet. Weanling Boer-goats (n=36) were assigned to 3 treatments comprising of 4 animals each (2 bucklings and 2 females) replicated three times in a completely randomized design (CRD) matrix. The goats aged between 12 and 18 months with initial body mass ranging from 17.5 - 38 kg (Mean±SD; 26.32±6.36). They were fed in a 42 d period as follows: diet 1 was the non-supplemented natural browse / pasture (control), diet 2 was the natural browse/pasture supplemented with commercial concentrate and diet 3 was the natural browse / pasture supplemented with cowpea seed hulls. Each of the supplemented diets was fed at the rate of 300 g per goat per day at 08:30 a.m. before goats could be released to graze/browse on the natural pasture within the paddock. Goats that grazed / browsed natural pasture alone (control) lost average weight of 1.12 kg, while goats that grazed / browsed natural pasture and supplemented with commercial concentrate gained 4.74 kg. Lastly, goats on basal diet and supplemented with cowpea seed hulls had average weight gain of 0.58 kg. Cowpea seed hulls can provide adequate protein and energy levels to sustain goat production during the extended dry season. The weight gain maintained during the dry season could easily upsurge when the conditions normalize after the first rains, hence early conception rate of goats.
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