TROPICAL ANIMAL HEALTH AND PRODUCTION; Vol.44 7; 1659-1665
The effect of feeding different levels of foliage from Erythrina variegata on the performance of growing goats was studied using a local breed (Ma T'ou) with an average initial body weight of 11.2 kg (SD = 0.9). Twenty-four animals were allocated to a randomized design, with six animals (three males and three females) per treatment. The treatments were four different levels of replacement of the diet crude protein (CP) with CP from Erythrina foliage (EF) at 0 % (E-0), 20 % (E-20), 40 % (E-40), and 60 % (E-60). There were no significant differences in the dry matter (DM) intake between treatments, but total CP intake was significantly higher in the goats fed the diet E-60 compared to E-20 (61.1 and 51.4 g/day, respectively). The average daily liveweight gain of the goats did not differ between treatments and ranged from 51 to 63 g/day. Sixteen animals were kept in metabolism cages for a digestibility study and given with the same four diets as in the main experiment. The digestibility of DM, organic matter, neutral detergent fiber, and acid detergent fiber was significantly higher for diet E-60 than for E-0. Neither the apparent digestibility of CP and N retention nor carcass characteristics (16 animals) differed with an increase in the level of CP from EF in the diets. In conclusion, CP from EF can replace up to 60 % of CP from a mixed diet with soybean meal without any negative effect on the growth in goats.