Main Article Content
Nutritional Evaluation of Selected Browse Plants Consumed by Small Ruminants in Northern Sudan Savannah of Nigeria
Browse plants species have high potentials as important feed resources for ruminants during the dry season, are quite palatable and less susceptible to a climate fluctuation. A study was therefore conducted to determine the nutritional evaluation of selected browse plants consumed by small ruminants on free range in Northern Sudan Savannah region of Nigeria using in vitro gas production, proximate composition, fiber components, methane gas production and dry matter degradation as response tools. The leaves samples of the selected browse plants were collected, processed and incubated using in vitro gas dry matter degradation techniques. The results revealed variation in the rate of degradation. The chemical analysis showed that the crude protein (CP) content of A. occidentale (26.49%) was higher than F. thonningi (23.58%), M. indica (20.58%) and T. catappa (18.61%). Both ADF and NDF of A. occidentale (40.00 and 50.00) were as well higher than F. thonningi (20.00 and 40.00), M. indica (20.00 and 40.00) and T. catappa (20.00 and 42.00). Results from in vitro gas production, however, showed that T. catappa (23.67 mL/DM) has a significantly higher (p<0.05) value than F. thonningi (20.67 mL/DM), A. occidentale (16.67 mL/DM), and M. indica (14.00 mL/DM) at 72 hours of incubation. It is therefore evident from this study that methane gas production and in vitro gas production can be used to predict dry matter degradation and nutritive value of feedstuff for small ruminants. A. occidentale with the least methane gas production and highest crude protein (CP) content might have the most nutritive value among the browse plants investigated.