The abundance of poultry litter in most farms in the sub-Saharan Africa is becoming an environmental problem. The objective of this study is to evaluate the proximate value, in-vitro digestibility of dried poultry manure (DPM) and its subsequent effect on growth, pH, and volatile fatty acid production of indigenous goats in Zimbabwe. Eighteen goats were randomly allocated to two treatment diets: grazing veld grass plus ad libitum browsing of Luecaena leucocephala (T1) and 25% dry poultry manure plus 75% maize meal (MM) (T2), in a completely randomised design. Three samples of 2 g each T1 and T2 diets were subjected to standard procedures, for proximate analysis; a two stage Tilley and Terry was used to evaluate dry matter (DM) and organic matter (OM) digestibility of the diets. The results show no significant differences between treatment diets for DM, ether extract (EE) and Ash; however T1 had higher (P<0.05) CP, ADF and CF compared to T2. The NDF content of T2 was significantly higher (P<0.05) than T1. There was a significant difference (P<0.05) in DM and OM digestibility between treatments; T1 showed higher DM and OM digestibility compared to T2. Diet and sex of animals significantly (P< 0.05) influenced DMI, ADG and total gain (TG). Male animals in the control diet consumed more feed, gained more per day and showed the highest growth rate compared to female animals (P<0.05). The rumen liquor pH for animals in T1 was significantly higher (P<0.05) compared to T2; however the sex of animal did not influence overall pH of rumen liquor (P>0.05). Diet and sex of animals significantly influenced (P<0.05) the total VFA production. Male animals in T2 exhibited the highest (P<0.05) total VFAs. In conclusion, although there were some nutrient inadequacies (ash, ADF) in poultry manure feed, it can support goat production at a marginal scale and positively influence pH and VFA production.
Key words: Goats, digestibility, poultry manure, nutritive value.
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