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Effects of supplementing Leucaena leucocephala and conserved forages from natural pasture on the performance of grazing calves

Abstract

Twelve white Fulani × N'dama cross-bred calves weighing 83.79 ± 1.16 kg were used in an 84-day experiment to investigate the utilization of forage resources from natural grazing land. The experimental diets were sole grazing, grazing + hay, grazing + silage and grazing + Leucaena leucocephala leaves. The calves were divided into four groups of three animals each and were randomly assigned to the four experimental diets. Crude protein (CP) contents of the forages ranged from 59 to 171 g/kg dry matter (DM). Neutral detergent fibre (NDF) and acid detergent fibre (ADF) contents of the forages ranged from 560 to 705 g/kg DM and 363 to 440 g/kg DM, respectively. Significantly (P < 0.05) higher values in mineral contents (Ca, K, P and Mg) were recorded for L. leucocephala leaves compared to other forage resources. Variations (P < 0.05) were observed in the average daily gain. Animals on grazing + L. leucocephala leaves diet had the highest (113 g/day) average daily gain, while those on sole grazing showed the least value (26.2 g/day). Packed cell volume (PCV), total serum protein, urea and calcium concentration showed significant differences (P < 0.05). Effective utilization of forage resources from the natural pasture by the calves was attained on supplementation with conserved forages and L. leucocephala leaves without any deleterious effects on the haematological and serum parameters.

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Correspondence to Victoria Olubunmi A. Ojo.

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Ojo, V.O.A., Aina, A.B.J., Fasae, O.A. et al. Effects of supplementing Leucaena leucocephala and conserved forages from natural pasture on the performance of grazing calves. Trop Anim Health Prod 46, 197–202 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11250-013-0476-2

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Keywords

  • Calves
  • Natural grazing land
  • Conserved forages
  • Performance
  • Haematology