Utilization of bitter leaf (vernonia amygdalina) meal as feed for West African Dwarf (Wad) goats
This study investigated the nutritive value of bitter leaf meal, optimum level of offer of bitter leaf (Vernonia amygdalina) meal (BLM) to West African Dwarf (WAD) goats, the haematological characteristics, blood chemistry and carcass characteristics of WAD goats fed graded levels of bitter leaf meal. This was with a view to assess the nutritive value of bitter leaf meal as a feedstuff for West African Dwarf goats. In a 20-week trial, twenty four West African Dwarf (WAD) goats of both sexes, 5-7 months old, were randomly allotted to four treatments of graded levels of BLM (0% BLM (Control diet/CD), 15% BLM, 30% BLM and 45% BLM diets) in a completely randomized design to determine the utilization of bitter leaf meal as feed for West African Dwarf goats. The diets served as supplements to a basal ration of guinea grass (Panicum maximum). Growth and digestibility trials lasted for 20 weeks. Two digestibility trials were carried out. Feed and faeces collected were subjected to chemical analysis to determine proximate components. Data obtained were statistically analyzed with the General Linear Model and significant means were separated using the Duncan’s Multiple Range Test. Processing methods had significant (P<0.05) effect on the proximate, antinutritional and mineral composition of the bitter leaf meal. Comparison of the chemical composition of bitter leaf meal (BLM) and Panicum maximum (PM) revealed higher dry matter, crude protein, ether extract and ash content in bitter leaf meal. However, PM had higher crude fibre, nitrogen free extract and organic matter content. The mean daily dry matter intake (DMI g/day) was not significant but higher (P>0.05, Fcal (0.55) < Ftab (3.10)) in goats fed 30% BLM than goats on 45% BLM, CD and 15% BLM. The apparent digestibility coefficient of the crude protein, crude fibre, ether extract, nitrogen free extract and ash were significantly (P<0.05) affected by the inclusion levels of bitter leaf meal. The digestible ether extract intake and digestible organic matter of goats fed CD were significantly (P<0.05, Fcal (20.14) > Ftab (3.10)), (P<0.05, Fcal (7.88) > Ftab (3.10)) higher than the values obtained for goats fed 45% BLM, 15% BLM and 30% BLM diets. The average daily weight gain (g/day) for goats on CD was significantly (P<0.05, Fcal (8.61) > Ftab (3.41)) higher than that of others. The analysis of blood components, red blood cell (RBC), white blood cell (WBC) and packed cell volume (PCV) counts showed that there were no significant differences (P>0.05) in each of these parameters among the goats fed experimental diets. The result of the serum glucose of goats fed 30% BLM and 45% BLM was significantly (P<0.05, Fcal (3.84) > Ftab (2.92)) lower than that of CD. There were no significant differences (P>0.05) in the parameters used in determining the carcass characteristics except in the lung %. The lung weight (%) of animals fed CD diet was significantly (P<0.05, Fcal (8.69) > Ftab (6.59)) higher than that of 15% BLM and 30% BLM. It was concluded that bitter leaf meal could be included in the diets of WAD goats up to 15% without any deleterious effect.