, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 263-270

Forage potential ofErythrina abyssinica: intake, digestibility and growth rates for stall-fed sheep and goats in southern Ethiopia

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Feeding value ofErythrina abyssinica leaves were evaluated with native sheep and goats at Soddo, southern Ethiopia in a 21-day digestibility and 80-day growth trial. In the digestibility trial, wilted leaves ofE. abyssinica were fedad libitum, while in the growth trial, animals were offered a basal diet ofP. purpureum with three levels (0, 500, 1000 g/head/day) ofE. abyssinica leaf. No significant (P>0.05) differences were found between sheep and goats in voluntary intakes and digestibilities of organic matter, nitrogen and neutral detergent fiber. Supplementing a basal diet ofP. purpureum with increasing levels ofE. abyssinica leaves resulted in reduced intake ofP. purpureum, but increased total organic matter intake in both species. Liveweight gains of sheep and goats increased linearly (P<0.01) with increasing levels ofE. abyssinica leaf supplementation. Sheep gained weight faster (P<0.04) than goats.

Based on the results it was concluded thatE. abyssinica has high forage potential and can effectively serve as a cheap source of protein supplement for low quality diets during the dry season for resource-poor farmers with stall-fed sheep and goats.