Use of Dry Land Tree Species (Prosopis juliflora) Seed Pods as Supplement Feed for Goats in the Arid and Semi Arid Lands of Kenya
Kipchirchir, Koech, O
Ngugi, Kinuthia, R.
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Abstract: This study was conducted to determine the potential of incorporating Prosopis juliflora seed pods into typical dry land livestock production systems to minimize feed scarcity during the dry seasons and avoiding weight losses and poor performance. The study evaluated supplementation of weaner Galla goats with increasing amounts of Prosopis juliflora seedpods that is widely distributed in arid and semi arid areas of Kenya. This species is drought tolerant and with high productivity of seed pods whole year round. The overall aim of this study was therefore, to assess the feasibility of incorporating P. juliflora seedpods into a typical dry land livestock production system. The study further sought to find out the optimum supplementation level for improved performance. The experiment involved 20 weaner Galla goats of similar age (6 months) and weights (11-14 kg) which were randomly assigned to four treatments of 5 weaners each. The treatments were No P. juliflora (PJP0), 100 g/goat/day P. juliflora (PJP100), 200 g/goat/day P. juliflora (PJP200), 400 g/goat/day P. juliflora (PJP400). Supplementation involved providing the goats with their respective diets in the morning before mixed species range grass hay was offered as basal diet. The animals were weighed on weekly basis and weight gains calculated as difference in previous week’s weight and current week’s weight. The experiment lasted for 70 days. Overall, all the treatment groups exhibited higher average weekly weight gains than the control group throughout the experimental period. However, for the first 3 weeks, this was not statistically significant (p<0.05). From the 5th week up to the 10th week, there was significant difference (p<0.05) in the growth rates for the treatments except for the control group. Overall, treatment PJP200 exhibited highest total weight gain (3.960c) followed by PJP400 (2.700 kg). Group PJP0 had the lowest weight gain by the end of the experiment. The supplemented groups showed good weight gains, body condition and retained nitrogen levels compared to the un-supplemented groups