MEKARN Miniprojects  2003

Citation of this paper

Effect of method of offering Muntingia (Muntingia calabura) foliages to goats on intake and feeding behaviour

Pok Samkol

University of Tropical Agriculture (UTA-Cambodia)
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
samkol@mekarn.org

Abstract

An experiment was conducted according to a change over design to study the effect of three methods of offering Muntingia calabura foliage on the voluntary feed intake and feeding behavior of young male goats. The methods were: branches hanging from the top of the cage or put in the feed trough and leaves put in the feed trough. The goats were of a local Vietnamese breed averaging 9 kg live weight.

Goats fed hanging branches of Muntingia had  highest feed intake (33.52 g DM/kg body weight) as compared to the other treatments. Eating rate tended to be higher and ruminating rate was significantly higher for this treatment. From 8 am to 8 pm, animals spent the majority of time eating and ruminating, which accounted for some 65.7 to 74.7% of the period of time examined. There was no  effect of treatment on any of the feeding behavior indices.

It is considered that the method of hanging foliage for goats is a feeding method that can contribute to improved performance of goats under practical farming conditions in countries of the Mekong basin.

Key words: Branches, feed trough, foliage, goats, hanging, leaves, Muntingia


Introduction

Goats have been raised during many years by farmers (Devendra and Burns 1983). They can help to enhance the income of smallholder farmers in the rural areas, especially in the mountainous areas. According to Theng Kouch (2003),  goat raising offers more opportunities to improve the economic livelihood of smallholder farmers by converting low-cost inputs to high value end products (meat, milk and skins). On the other hand, it has been claimed that goats have the ability to browse effectively because of the presence of mobile upper-lips (Devendra and Coop 1982; Van Soest 1982). The selective behaviour of goats encourages to them to go long distances in searching for food. Trees and shrubs are important feeds for grazing and browsing ungulates. These forage species contain appreciable amounts of nutrients that are deficient in other feed resources such as grass (Komwihangilo et al 2001).

Muntigia (Jamaica cherry is its common name) (Muntingia calabura) has recently been studied as a possible source of tree foliage for ruminants (Nguyen Xuan Ba and Le Duc Ngoan 2003). Nevertheless, very little is known about the nutritive value of foliage from Muntingia for ruminant species. Muntingia has mostly been used as a shade tree and sources of fruit. On the other hand, Muntingia stems are primarily used for firewood. It ignites quickly, and produces an intensely hot flame with little smoke. It is also used for beautification and shading purposes. It has also been considered for use as paper pulp. However, the foliage appears to be palatable to goats (Le Thi Thuy Hang 2003).

As compared to the agronomy characteristics of Muntingia, there is information about the botanical characteristics of Muntingia, which is a tree belonging to the Elaeocarpacea family. It is a small fast-growing evergreen tree with a dense, spreading crown and drooping branches. It reaches 8 to 13 m in height with a trunk 8.5 to 20 cm in diameter. It bears a cherry-like fruit in 1.5 to 2 years after planting as seed.  The leaves are evergreen with a large canopy, alternate, lanceolate or oblong, long-pointed at the apex, oblique at the base; 5 to 12.5 cm long, dark-green and minutely hairy on the upper surface, gray- or brown-hairy on the underside; and irregularly toothed. The flowers, borne singly or in 2's or 3's in the leaf axils, are 1.25-2 cm wide with 5 green sepals and 5 white petals and many prominent yellow stamens. They last only one day, the petals falling in the afternoon. The abundant fruits are round, 3/8 to 1/2 in (1-1.25 cm) wide, with red or sometimes yellow, smooth, thin, tender skin and light-brown, soft, juicy pulp, with very sweet, musky, somewhat fig-like flavor, filled with exceedingly minute, yellowish seeds, too fine to be noticed in eating (Morton 1987).

Muntingia can grow everywhere (sandy land, humid areas, and high land areas) and it is well adapted in the dry season. The biomass yield has been reported to be from 40 to 50 tonnes/ha/year (Nguyen Xuan Ba and Le Duc Ngoan 2003). However,  there appears to be little information about the use of Muntingia in integrated farming systems.

Eating is an action of animals to meet nutrient requirements. However, the pattern of eating differs among livestock, because of anatomical and physiological adaptations of species to the environment. In general, ruminant animals prefer to consume living rather than dead materials, young rather than old materials, and leaves rather than stems. Goats often select buds, leaves, fruits and flowers which contain less fiber and more protein, and in this way they consume the parts of plant of highest nutritive value (Lu 1987).

The aim of the present investigation was to study ways to improve the intake of Muntingia  by goats, using the approach developed by Theng Kouch et al (2003) of offering the foliage by hanging it from the top of the pen rather than in the feed trough. Some preliminary information related to the nutritive value of Muntingia is published in a companion report (Le Thi Thuy Hang 2003).


Materials and methods

General

The experiment was conducted in An Giang University, Long Xuyen City, approximately 200 km north-west of Ho Chi Minh City. The range of air temperature during August 2003 was from 27  to 32 C.

Four recently weaned goats of a local Vietnamese breed (live weight of 9.7±1.30 kg) were confined in metabolism cages made from bamboo (Photo 1), in an open stable located on the University of An Giang campus.

Photo 1: Metabolism cage made from bamboo Photo 2: Hanging the Muntingia foliage in the cage
Experimental design and treatments

A changeover design was used to compare three treatments with 4 replicates (goats) in three periods (Table 1).

The treatments were:

The periods were  each of 8 days: days 1 to 4 for adaptation, days 5 to 8 for collection of data on feed intake.

Table 1. Layout of the experiment

 

Goat number

Period

1

2

3

4

1

ML

MT

ML

MT

2

MH

ML

MH

ML

3

MT

MH

MT

MH

Feeds and feeding system

The Muntingia foliage was from mature trees not previously harvested. It was purchased  from farmers in An Giang province, in the surroundings of the University. Part of the foliage was separated into leaves and stems, the leaves then being offered in the feed trough as treatment ML.  The proportions of leaf and stem were recorded. For the treatments MT and MH the entire branch was used. Feeding was twice daily (8:00 am and 5:00 pm), in amounts calculated to exceed by about 20% the observed intake.

Measurements
Feed intake

Feed offered and refused was recorded and samples analyzed for DM and N content. Samples of each feed component were analyzed for water extractable DM and N.  Rate of eating was recorded  as the difference between amount of feed offered at 8 am and the feed refusal at 5 pm..

Feeding behaviour

Feeding behaviour was determined during periods of 12 hours on the last day of each period, from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm. Eating and ruminating time were continuously recorded by trained personal. In addition to eating and ruminating time, complementary information was obtained concerning other activities, which included resting and standing time.

The eating rate and ruminating rate were calculated according to Theng Kouch et al (2003) by the following expressions:

Chemical analysis

Samples of Muntingia foliage offered to and refused by the goats were analyzed for DM content by micro-wave radiation (Undersander et al 1993) and for N following standard procedures as outlined by AOAC (1990). Water extractable DM and N were determined according to the procedure outlined by Ly and Preston (2001).

Statistical analysis

The data were analyzed with the GLM option of the analysis of variance software of Minitab Version 13.31. Sources of variation in the model were animals, periods, feeding system and error.


Results and discussion

Animal status

No signals of discomfort were apparent during the trial. The goats were in good health and gained in live weight.

Muntingia foliage characteristics

 

The proportion of leaves in the Muntingia foliage was 57.01.46% (DM basis). Compared with other fodder tree species (Table 3), Muntingia had had a higher N content but was lower in water extractable DM than all the other species except Flemingia. The water extractable N was low but similar to Leucaena, mulberry and Trichanthera.

Table 2. Foliage composition

Muntingia

DM %

N, % in DM

WEDM, %

WEN, %

Leaves

36.9

3.58

32.0

39.3

Stems

32.6

1.81

-

-

Foliage

33.1

2.55

31.8

22.6

WEDM and WEN represent water extractable DM and N, respectively

Table 3. Literature values for chemical components of leaves of some trees and shrubs

 

DM %

N % in DM

WEDM, %

WEN, %

Desmanthus virgatus

37.1

3.13

39.4

55.2

Flemingia macrophylla

41.8

3.19

25.3

46.5

Gliricida sepium

27.1

3.27

52.6

62.2

Hibiscus rosasinensis

21.0

2.53

52.0

59.6

Leucaena leucocephala

43.5

3.09

36.1

30.4

Moringa oleifera

24.4

2.53

49.6

70.0

Morus alba

33.3

3.54

43.7

39.3

Trichanthera gigantea

26.3

3.46

35.7

34.4

Muntingia calabura#

36.9

3.58

32.0

39.3

Sources of data: Ly et al (2001) other than # which is from the present study

Voluntary feed intake

DM intake was increased (P=0.015), as a result of modifying the method of offering the foliage, in favor of the foliage served as branches hanging in the pen (Table 4). This same trend was found when feed intake was related to the body weight of the goats. Eating rate tended (P=0.15) to be faster for the hanging foliage while ruminating was significantly faster. These results are in accordance with those reported by Theng Kouch et al (2003) for foliages from Jackfruit, mulberry and cassava. Nevertheless, the data obtained in the present investigation corresponded to younger animals than that used by Theng Kouch et al (2003), and possibly this could be a plausible explanation for differences found between both studies.

Table 4. Feed intake characteristics of goats according to the method of feeding

 

Leaves in trough

Foliage in trough

Foliage hanging

SEM/Prob.

DM intake, g/day

288

286

364

37.4/0.015

DM intake, g/kg body weight

26.9

26.0

33.5

2.76/0.005

Eating rate, g DM/min

1.09

0.83

1.32

0.31/0.149

Ruminating rate, g DM/min

0.79

0.84

1.34

0.25/0.011

Eating:ruminating ratio

1.39

0.94

1.04

0.32/0.195

Feeding behaviour

From 8 am to 8 pm, the goats spent the majority of the time eating and ruminating, which accounted for some 65.7 to 74.7% of the period of time examined (Table 5). There was no effect of treatment on eating plus ruminating as mixed or single activities. In general, goats were lying down while ruminating and sleeping, the latter occurring mainly in moments prior to initiation of rumination. Goats fed the hanging foliage spent less time standing compared with other treatments, however, the significance of this difference has no obvious explanation.

Table 5. Feeding behaviour of goats according to the method of feeding

 

Leaves in trough

Foliage in trough

Foliage hanging

SEM/Prob.

Activities, % of time#

 

 

 

 

Single activities

 

 

 

 

Eating

33.5

30.4

35.2

3.79/0.657

Ruminating

37.8

35.3

39.5

5.08/0.449

Standing

13.6

11.8

8.16

3.07/0.004

Lying down

15.1

22.5

17.1

6.97/0.482

Mixed activities

 

 

 

 

Eating plus ruminating

71.3

65.7

74.8

7.20/0.569

Resting plus ruminating

52.9

57.8

56.6

3.45/0.522

Eating:ruminating ratio

0.89

0.86

0.89

0.13/0.414

# Corresponds to the daily cycle between 8 am and 8 pm

Conclusions


Acknowledgements

The author would like to thank to the Swedish Agency for Research Cooperation with Developing Countries (SAREC) for funding this study through the regional MEKARN project. In addition, thanks are given to Dr T R Preston for his support and advice during the  the present investigation. Dr J Ly is gratefully acknowledged for helping in the observations of eating and ruminating of the animals, and preparation of data. I should address my gratitude to my classmate Mrs. Le Thi Thuy Hang for her cooperation during the trial. Mr. Chhay Ty is gratefully acknowledged for helping to analyze the feed samples.

References

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