A study was conducted to evaluate the effects of supplementation of a leaf based concentrate consisting of a 1:1 leaf mixture of Vernonia amygdalina and Tithonia diversifolia (VATD) as a direct replacement for brewers dried grains (BDG) on feed intake, growth performance and digestibility by West African Dwarf (WAD) goats on a basal diet of Panicum maximum hay. Twenty five growing WAD goats weighing between 8.07 - 9.60 kg were allotted into five dietary treatment groups in a completely randomized design with five goats per treatment. The mixed leaf meal (VATD) were included in the diets at 0% (T1), 5% (T2), 10% (T3), 15% (T5), and 20% (T5) of the total diet. The experiment lasted for twelve weeks. Results showed that dry matter (DM) intake (g/kg W0.75/day) was lowest (P<0.05) in control diet T1 (72.02), and higher in T3 (92.78) than T2, T4 and T5 (88.69, 86.61 and 86.70, respectively). Crude protein (CP) intake (g/kg W0.75/day) peaked at T3 and progressively reduced thereafter in T4 (15.10), T5 (14.83) and T2 (14.16). CP intake was higher (P<0.05) in T3 than T1. Daily weight gain (g/day) of goats ranged from 32.97 (T4 and T5) to 38.40 (T3). Crude protein digestibility was higher (P<0.05) in T5 (89.49%) than T1 (84.23%) and T4 (84.19%) but similar in T2 (85.47%) and T3 (86.10%). Better nitrogen intake (15.10 g/day) was observed in goats fed T4 compared to those fed T1 (14.32) and T2 (14.16). Rumen pH values were higher in T1 than T2, T3, T4 and T5. Ammonia N content (mg/100ml) of the rumen was similar in goats fed T2 (9.92), T3 (10.07) and T5 (9.80) but higher (P<0.05) than those fed T1 (8.19). The result suggests that WAD goats fed VATD leaf meal based concentrates perform better on diets with levels of mixed concentrates not exceeding 10%.
Key words: Growth, Leaf meal, nitrogen utilization, Tithonia diversifolia, Vernonia amygdalina, WAD goats.
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