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Effects of form of leftover khat (Catha edulis) on feed intake, digestion, and growth performance of Hararghe Highland goats

Wallie, M., Y. Mekasha, M. Urge, G. Abebe, and A. L. Goetsch

Small Ruminant Research 102:1-6. 2012

Khat (Catha edulis) is a lucrative cash crop in many African countries and other areas of the world. Leftover khat can be used as a feedstuff for ruminants, although seasonal production limits the extent of utilization. Practical methods of feed conservation to preserve nutritional value would be beneficial. Thus, a study was conducted to investigate effects of feeding different forms of leftover khat on intake, digestion, and growth performance of a tropically adapted indigenous goat genotype of eastern Ethiopia. Twenty-four (six per treatment) individually housed Hararghe Highland yearling male goats with an initial body weight of 18 0.4 kg were used in an on-station experiment, and 32 similar yearlings with an initial body weight of 19 0.4 kg were employed under on-farm conditions. The on-farm experiment occurred at two villages, with four farmer groups (two farmers per group co-managing animals) per village. Four animals in each farmer group were subjected to each of the four different treatments. Experiments were 90 days in length, with inclusion of a subsequent 10-day period on-station to determine digestibility. Khat in fresh, dry, and silage forms was fed at 1.5% body weight (dry matter; DM), whereas control animals did not receive khat. Animals on-station consumed grass hay ad libitum and those on-farm grazed/browsed surrounding areas. Grass hay DM intake on-station was greater (P < 0.05) without than with khat (528, 358, 387, and 368 g/day; SE = 20.3), although total DM intake was increased by feeding khat regardless of form (528, 649, 622, and 639 g/day for control, fresh, dry, and silage, respectively; SE = 22.9). Digestibility of organic matter was increased (P < 0.05) by feeding each form of khat (62.3, 75.7, 75.2, and 72.4% for control, fresh, dry, and silage, respectively; SE = 1.63). Nitrogen balance was increased by fresh and ensiled khat (P < 0.05) (-0.54, 2.07, 0.80, and 0.86 g/day for control, fresh, dry, and silage, respectively). Average daily gain (ADG) was increased by khat regardless of form on-station (13, 49, 33, and 39 g; SE = 4.6), and on-farm ADG was less for control than for fresh and dry forms (P < 0.05) (32, 56, 47, and 42 g for control, fresh, dry, and silage, respectively SE = 2.0). The ratio of ADG:DM intake on-station was lower for control than for fresh (P < 0.05) and silage (P < 0.05) (26, 76, 54, and 61 g/kg for control, fresh, dry, and silage, respectively; SE = 7.6). In conclusion, feeding leftover khat to Highland goats consuming low to moderate quality forage-based diets can increase growth performance. Khat can be preserved for use as a feedstuff throughout the year by drying or ensiling without marked effect on performance.


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