Vernonia amygdalina (bitter leaf) as a phytogenic additive in the diet of West African Dwarf goats
Keywords:Vernonia amygdalina, feed additives, faecal worm egg, microbial count
AbstractA 98-day feeding trial was carried out to evaluate the effect of Vernonia amygdalina (bitter leaf) on growth performance, faecal worm egg count and rumen microbial count of West African Dwarf goats. Using a completely randomised design, 24 West African Dwarf goats were divided into four treatment groups of six animals. Four concentrate diets were formulated to contain V. amygdalina at 0, 5, 10 and 15 g/kg DM. Panicum maximum was the basal diet. Feed intake was monitored daily and weights were taken every 2 weeks. Faecal samples were collected monthly and analysed. Rumen fluid was analysed for microbial composition at the start and at the end of the experiment. Results showed that feed intake of the goats increased as the levels of V. amygdalina in the diets increased. Total and daily weight gains were highest (P <= 0.05) in goats fed diets containing 15g/kg V. amygdalina. Faecal worm egg count reduced as the level of V. amygdalina in the diets increased. The lowest counts, 46.7 and 46.6 eggs/gram (which were statistically similar), were obtained in goats fed diets containing 10 and 15g/kg V. amygdalina respectively. Bacteria, fungi and protozoa count were not significantly (P > 0.05) influenced by V. amygdalina inclusion in the diets. However goats fed diets containing V. amygdalina had their counts reduced by the end of the study while that of the control increased. It can be concluded that for increased feed intake and weight gain, and reduced faecal worm egg count, V. amygdalina could be included in the diet of West African Dwarf goats at 15g/kg DM.