Tropical Animal Health and Production

, Volume 46, Issue 5, pp 889–894 | Cite as

Replacing commercial concentrate by Ficus thonningii improved productivity of goats in Ethiopia

  • Mulubrhan BalehegnEmail author
  • Lars Olav Eik
  • Yayneshet Tesfay
Regular Articles


Ficus thonningii (FT) is an important multipurpose fodder tree providing economic and ecological benefits across arid and semi-arid areas in Africa. Despite its availability in many Sub-Saharan African countries, there is lack of information on its effect on animal productivity. Twenty-four male weaned highland goats of age 7 ± 1.5 months were randomly assigned to four dietary treatments in a completely randomized block design. All animals were fed wheat straw, water, and salt licks ad libitum. The control group (T1) was fed concentrate mixture at 2 % of their body weight, while in T2, T3, and T4, 25, 50, and 75 % of the weight of concentrate (DM basis), respectively, was replaced by sun dried FT leaf meal. FT leaf meal had acceptable levels crude protein (CP), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), and tannins and has resulted in increased body weight in all treatments. Goats fed T3 diet showed significantly higher (P < 0.05) values in terms of feed intake, body weight gain, some carcass attributes, and local meat quality indicators than the rest of the treatments. An increase in proportion of FT leaf meal beyond 50 %, however, resulted in decreased body weight gain, and other carcass parameters, despite increased feed intake. Therefore, F. thonningii can be used to replace commercial concentrate mixture up to 50 % to improve feed intake and productivity of Ethiopian highland goats.


Ficus thonningii Ethiopian highland goats Partial replacement Carcass 



This research was funded by the International Foundation for Science, Stockholm, Sweden, through a grant to Mulubrhan Balehegn (Grant NO D5056-1).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.


  1. Ådnøy, T., Haug, A., Sørheim, O., Thomassen, M.S., Varszegi, Z., and Eik, L.O., 2005. Grazing on mountain pastures-does it affect meat quality in lambs, Livestock Production Science, 94, 25–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. AOAC, 2000. Official methods of Analysis of the AOAC. Volume 2, (Association of Official Analytical Chemists Inc., Washington DC)Google Scholar
  3. Arguello, A., Castro, N., Capote, J., and Solomon, M., 2005. Effects of diet and live weight at slaughter on kid meat quality, Meat Science, 70, 173–179PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Balehegn, M., 2011. Forage and Multipurpose Uses of Ficus Thonningii in Northern Ethiopia (LAP Lambert Academic Publishing AG & Co KG)Google Scholar
  5. Balehegn, M., and Eniang, E.A., 2009. Assessing indigenous knowledge for evaluation, propagation and conservation of indigenous multipurpose fodder trees towards enhancing climate change: adaptation in Northern Ethiopia. In J.A. Parrota, A. Oteng-Yeboah, J . Cobbinah (eds), Traditional forest-related knowledge and sustainable forest management in Africa. IUFRO World Series, 23, 39–46Google Scholar
  6. Balehegn, M., Eniang, E.A., and Hassen, A., 2012. Estimation of browse biomass of Ficus thonningii, an indigenous multipurpose fodder tree in northern Ethiopia, African Journal of Range and Forage Science, 29, 25–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Berhe, D.H., and Tanga, A.A., 2013. Nutritional evaluation of Ficus thonningii Blume leaves as ruminant livestock feed in the Ahferom district of Tigray, Ethiopia, African Journal of Range and Forage Science, 1–6Google Scholar
  8. Bmikole, M.A., and Ikhatua, U.J., 2010. Nutritional evaluation of Ficus thonningii-Panicum maximum mixtures in West African dwarf goats, Nutrition and Food Science, 40, 280–288CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fasae, O.A., Adu, I.F., Aina, A.B..J., and Dipeolu, M.A., 2011. Growth performance, carcass characteristics and meat sensory evaluation of West African dwarf sheep fed varying levels of maize and cassava hay, Tropical Animal Health and Production, 43, 503–510Google Scholar
  10. Laudadio, V., Tufarelli, V., Dario, M., Hammadi, M., Seddik, M.M., Lacalandra, G.M., and Dario, C., 2009. A survey of chemical and nutritional characteristics of halophytes plants used by camels in Southern Tunisia, Tropical Animal Health and Production, 41, 209–215PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Legesse, G., and Abebe, G., 2008. The effect of breed type and feeding system of yields of edible and saleable components of Somalia and Arsi-Bale goats, Livestock research for rural development, 20, 1–6Google Scholar
  12. Liméa, L., Boval, M., Mandonnet, N., Garcia, G., Archimède, H., and Alexandre, G., 2009. Growth performance, carcass quality, and noncarcass components of indigenous Caribbean goats under varying nutritional densities, Journal of Animal Science, 87, 3770–3781PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. NRC, 2007. Nutrient requirements of small ruminants: sheep, goats, cervids, and new world camelids: National Research Council. Committee on Nutrient Requirements of Small RuminantsGoogle Scholar
  14. Roothaert, R., and Franzel, S., 2001. Farmers’ preferences and use of local fodder trees and shrubs in Kenya, Agroforestry Systems, 52, 239–252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. SAS, 2011. SAS/STAT 9.3 user’s guide, (SAS Institute)Google Scholar
  16. Sebsibe, A., 2006. Meat quality of selected Ethiopian goat genotypes under varying nutritional conditions, (University of Pretoria)Google Scholar
  17. Sebsibe, A., Casey, N., Van Niekerk, W., Tegegne, A., and Coertze, R., 2007. Growth performance and carcass characteristics of three Ethiopian goat breeds fed grainless diets varying in concentrate to roughage ratios, South African Journal of Animal Science, 37, 221–232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Webb, E.C., Casey, N.H., and Simela, L., 2005. Goat meat quality, Small Ruminant Research, 60, 153–166Google Scholar
  19. Zewdu, S., and Taye, M., 2013. Growth performance and carcass characteristics of central highland goats in Sekota District, Ethiopia, Agricultural Advances, 2, 250–258Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mulubrhan Balehegn
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lars Olav Eik
    • 2
  • Yayneshet Tesfay
    • 3
  1. 1.Norwegian Life Sciences InstituteNorway and Mekelle University EthiopiaMekelleEthiopia
  2. 2.Department of International Environment and Development Studies (NORAGRIC)Norwegian Life Sciences InstituteÅsNorway
  3. 3.International Livestock Research InstituteMekelleEthiopia

Personalised recommendations