Evaluation of nutritive value and palatability by goats and sheep of selected browse foliages from semiarid area of Kenya
Osuga, I. M.
Wambui, C. C.
Abdulrazak, S. A.
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The feeding value of five browse foliages (Acacia brevispica, Acacia mellifera, Berchemia discolor, Zizyphus mucronata and Maerua angolensis) grown in semiarid area of Kenya were evaluated. Their chemical composition including polyphenolics and in vitro gas production characteristics were determined. The biological activity of the polyphenolics was assessed as the increases in gas production profiles and in vitro true dry matter (DM) and organic matter (OM) digestibility after in vitro incubation with or without addition of polyethylene glycol (PEG) as a tannin binding reagent. The intake and palatability ranking of the browse foliages by goats and sheep were also investigated. The browse foliages had variable crude protein content (149.5–248.6 g/kg DM) and variable content of neutral detergent fiber (205.1–424.0 g/kg DM). The content of total extractable tannins was generally low (2.4–34.8 g/kg DM). At 24 h of incubation, Z. mucronata produced the highest gas volume, while after 48 h of incubation, B. discolor produced the highest gas volume. M. angolensis had the least gas production potential within the browse foliages. Addition of PEG increased gas production except in A. mellifera and M. angolensis. However, PEG addition did not have any significant effect on in vitro true DM and OM digestibility except in B. discolor, which decreased. The rank order of preference (highest to least) for goats was A. brevispica, Z. mucronata, B. discolor, A. mellifera and M. angolensis while the rank order of preference for sheep was A. brevispica, B. discolor, A. mellifera, Z. mucronata and M. angolensis. The goats had higher intakes of all the browse foliages than sheep. The result of this study highlights the higher feeding value of the browse species as supplemental feed with low quality basal diet with both of animal species except M. angolensis.