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Browse species and supplements used for feeding small ruminants in Ogun State, Nigeria

C F I Onwuka 1, B B A Taiwo 2 and I F Adu 1

1 College of Animal Science and Livestock Production
University of Agriculture
PMB 2240, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria

2 Department of Animal Production
Ogun State University
Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, Nigeria

ABSTRACT

A questionnaire survey was conducted to determine the browse species and supplementary feeds used for sheep and goat production in Ogun State, south-west Nigeria. Results indicate that farmers sustain their sheep and goats on browse plants supplemented by farm and household wastes. The predominant browses are Spondias mombin, Gliricidia sepium, Ficus sp and Marantochloa leucantha; the main supplements are cassava, cocoyam and yam peels, maize residues and millet; and grasses include Panicum maximum and Cynodon sp. The supplements fill the animal feed availability gap during dry months. Farmers spend variable amounts on supplements and little effort is made to establish pastures. Alley farming and intensive feed gardens are not common in this area. Free ranging and cut-and-carry systems are predominantly practiced.

RESUME

Les ligneux fourragers et les aliments complémentaires dans l'alimentation des petits ruminants dans l'Etat d'Ogun (Nigéria)

Une étude a été effectuée à partir d'un questionnaire en vue de déterminer les espèces ligneuses fourragères et les compléments alimentaires utilisés dans l'élevage des ovins et des caprins dans l'Etat d'Ogun, dans le sud-ouest du Nigéria. Il ressort des résultats enregistrés que les paysans nourrissaient leurs animaux avec des ligneux, des sous-produits agricoles et des ordures ménagères. Les espèces ligneuses les plus utilisées étaient Spondias mombin, Gliricidia sepium, Ficus sp et Marantochloa leucantha; les principaux sous-produits agricoles étaient les pelures de manioc, de taro et d'igname ainsi que les résidus des cultures de mais et de mil. Certaines graminées entraient en outre dans l'alimentation de ces animaux, notamment Panicum maximum et Cynodon sp. Utilisés pour combler les déficits de saison sèche, les aliments complémentaires occasionnaient des dépenses variables. Les pâturages artificiels, les cultures en couloirs et les vergers d'embouche étaient rares dans cette région. En revanche, la divagation et l'alimentation à l'auge étaient extrêmement fréquentes.

INTRODUCTION

Browse forms an important part of goat diets in the tropics (Devendra and Bums, 1983), especially in rural areas where goat meat is a major source of protein. Livestock and feeding have always been production constraints in sub-Saharan Africa; inadequate feeding can lead to reproductive wastage, low birth weights, high infant mortality, etc (Sumberg, 1985: Reynolds, 1986).

Rural small ruminants roam around freely and eat a variety of grasses, legumes and kitchen wastes. However, during the dry season, green forages are less nutritive, particularly grasses which are lignified (le Houérou, 1983). The feed problem is further magnified by the handling of small-ruminant production as a minor enterprise with few or no inputs. With the pressure on land for crop production, there is need now, more than ever before, to look in depth into the feeds and feeding of small ruminants.

The nutritive values of browse plants to livestock have been studied (Jones, 1979; Onwuka, et al, 1989). This study was concerned mainly with identifying browse species and supplements fed to sheep and goats in south-west Nigeria.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

Three hundred questionnaires were administered by trained enumerators to small-ruminant owners in five Local Government Areas (Remo, Obafemi-Owode, Egbado North, Ifo and Ijebu-Ode) of Ogun State, south-west Nigeria, during the wet and dry seasons of 1990. The five areas were randomly selected to represent the socio-political and ecological zones of the state.

The questionnaires covered such topics as the types of feeds used, sources, times of feeding, reasons for using specific forages, the commonest browses and supplements in use, and awareness by the farmers of intensive feed garden/alley farming technology. To minimise errors, the same trained enumerators were used in all five Local Government Areas. They could all communicate in the local language of these areas.

In most cases the interviewee was the household head. Some of the forages used by the respondents to feed their stock were collected for identification.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

A total of 290 questionnaires were recovered.

Small-ruminant owners in the study area show a clear preference for goats; 74% of the households surveyed goats (average flock size 5.1), but only 13% owned sheep (average flock size 1.9).

Most of the respondents were crop farmers and traders (Table 1) who use family labour to take care (if any) of their livestock. There are no large commercial goat and sheep enterprises in the areas surveyed.

Table 1. Predominant occupations of survey respondents in five Local Government Areas in Ogun
State, Nigeria, 1,°90

Occupation

Percentage of respondents by occupation

Remo

Obafemi-Owode

Egbado North

Ifo

Ijebu-Ode

Farming

50.0

95.2

76.7

70.4

92.0

Trading

31.0

4.8

14.0

16.6

1.6

Civil servants

3.4

-

4.7

7.0

4.8

Retired civil servants

5.2

-

2.3

2.8

-

Tradesmen

3.4

-

2.3

3.2

1.6

Unemployed

1.7

-

-

-

-

Others

5.3

-

-

-

-

Small ruminants are generally left to roam freely and fend for themselves on whatever forage or other feed they can find. However, household wastes (cassava, yam and cocoyam peels) are given to stock as supplements (Table 2); they are offered in the mornings, or as they become available. Cut forages are de-emphasised during the dry season when green material is in short supply.

Table 3 shows the commonest browse species and supplements used in small-ruminant production in the study area. Some of these browses and supplements have high nutritive value and can support animal production (Oyenuga, 1978; Fomunyam and Meffeja, 1987; Onwuka et al, 1989). Their use could, however, be limited by some antinutritional components (Onwuka, 1991).

The supplements come mainly from the stock owners' farms. Farmers also buy some supplements (Table 4) from either local markets or neighbours, but generally small-ruminant owners invest minimally in animal feed (Table 5). None of the respondents in this study claimed that they used compounded diets.

Most sheep and goat keepers give specific forages to their stock believing that they induce rapid growth rates; some use them for medicinal purposes and a few use some forages to prevent their animals being attacked by evil spirits (Table 6). Table 7 shows that browse are generally fed to ruminants because they are readily available and palatable.

Table 2. Sources of animal feeds by season in five Local Government Areas in Ogun State, Nigeria, 1990




Sources of feed (%) by season

Remo

Obafemi- Owode

Egbado North

Ifo

Ijebu-Ode

Dry

Wet

Dry

Wet

Dry

Wet

Dry

Wet

Dry

Wet

Animals fending for self

37.7

39.5

51.6

8.1

25.9

34.5

25.0

50.0

50.8

50.4

Improved pasture

17.8

13.2

1.6

1.6

25.9

29.3

-

-

-

-

Household waste

35.6

40.7

45.2

38.7

34.5

25.9

75.0

-

45.8

38.2

Cut forages

8.9

6.6

1.6

51.6

13.7

10.3

-

50.0

3.4

11.4

Table 3. Commonest browses/grasses and supplements in use in five Local Government Areas in Ogun State, Nigeria 1990

Feed

% of total diet

Remo

Obafemi-Owode

Egbado North

Ifo

Ijebu-Ode

Browse/grass

Grass/pasture

14.6

29.9

5.9

15.0

36.4

Musa cv paradisciaca

1.2

-

-

1.0

-

Cymbopogon cutrilis

3.7

-

-

-

-

Gliricidia sepium

-

-

3.5

-

1.1

Marantochloa leucantha

-

2.0

-

-

-

Spondias mombin

-

-

1.2

2.0

-

Ficus sp

-

-

2.0

3.0

-

"Ewe akoko"

-

-

1.2

2.0

-

Leucaena leucocephala

-

-

1.2

-

-

Supplements

Cassava peels

58.5

53.7

34.5

40.0

34.1

Yam peels

4.9

7.2

9.4

5.0

-

Cocoyam peels

1.2

7.2

-

7.0

12.5

Millet

-

-

15.3

-

-

Maize waste

15.9

-

25.8

25.0

15.9

The forages usually preferred by stockmen are Eupatorium odoratum, giant star grass, elephant grass, lemon grass, cassava leaves, Guinea grass, bamboo leaves, Ficus sp, Centrosema pubescens, Spondias mombin, Aegeratum conizoides, Cida acuta, Talinum triangulaire.

Table 4. Types of feedstuffs by sheep goats farmers in five Local Government in Ogun State, Nigeria 1990

Feedstuff

% of purchased feeds

Remo

Obafemi-Owode

Egbado North

Ifo

Ijebu-Ode

Cassava peels

59.2

64.6

37.5

55.4

11.8

Maize chaff

13.6

26.2

25.0

20.5

35.5

Yam peels

-

-

6.3

6.0

-

Millet

-

15

18.7

8.6

-

Dried brewers' grain

-

-

3.1

-

2.7

Cocoyam peels

-

4.6

-

9.5

14.7

Rice waste

-

-

-

-

35 3

Lemon grass

13.6

3.1

-

-

-

Cassava leaves

13.6

-

9,4

-

-

Table 5. Attitudes of sheep awl goat keepers to the purchase of feeds in five Local Government Areas in Ogun State, Nigeria 1990



Percentage of respondents

Remo

Obafemi-Owode

Egbado North

Ifo

Ijebu-Ode

Farmers that buy feed

31.0

33.9

27.9

363

30.2

Farmers that do not buy feed

655

59.7

65.1

57.6

68.2

Farmers indifferent to purchase of feed

3.5

64

7.0

6.1

1.6

Table 6 Reasons for use of specific forages in five Local Government Areas in Ogun State, Nigeria, 1990

Reason

Percentage of farmers giving reason

Remo

Obafemi-Owode

Egbado North

Ifo

Ijebu-Ode

Rapid growth of animals

88.9

81.3

68.9

83.4

95.0

Medicinal

11.1

12.5

28.9

10.0

5.0

Fetish beliefs

-

6.2

2.2

6.6

-

Although stock owners are willing to feed forage to their stock, they are not willing to propagate the crops to ensure availability (except in Ijebu-Ode; Table 8). The major constraints are availability of land and capital (Table 9). The land issue is worsened by the land-use policy in the country. These are usually subsistence farmers who invest minimally in their enterprises and will not welcome any extra investment in feed/forage propagation, except, of course, for crops that can also be used as food.

Table 7. Reasons for feeding forage to sheep and goats in five Local Government Areas in Ogun
State, Nigeria, 1990

Reason

Percentage of farmers giving reason

Remo

Obafemi-Owode

Egbado North

Ifo

Ijebu-Ode

Readily available

51.8

-

40.7

50.0

31.2

Palatable

13.8

1.6

50.0

50.0

-

The only species farmers know

10.3

62.9

1.9

-

6.3

Cheap

13.8

12.9

5.5

-

62.5

Recommended by others

10.3

-

1.9

-

-

Table 8. Attitude of farmers to growing forage in five Local Government Areas in Ogun State, Nigeria, 1990



Percentage of respondents

Remo

Obafemi-Owode

Egbado North

Ifo

Ijebu-Ode

Willing to plant

34.5

17.7

35.7

34.8

71.4

Not willint to plant

51.7

45.2

40.5

60.0

27.0

Undecided

13.8

37.1

23.8

5.2

1.6

Table 9. Major problems associated with fodder production in five Local Government Areas in Ogun State, Nigeria 1990

Problem

Percentage of farmers citing problems

Remo

Obafemi-Owode

Egbado North

Ifo

Ijebu-Ode

Land

64.0

35.3

25.6

28.4

20.6

Credit

10.3

47.1

41.9

30.4

66.7

Labour

10.3

-

18.6

-

-

Seed availability

5.1

17.6

4.6

38.0

11.1

Others

10.3

-

9.3

3.2

1.6

The survey found few farmers who were aware of alley farming or intensive feed gardens (Table 10). However, many farmers indicated an interest in these technologies when the possibilities of augmenting animal feed supply were explained to them (Table 11). The interest in alley farming may be partly explained by the perceived human food benefits of this technology.

Table 10. Awareness of intensive feed garden and alley farming technologies by sheep and goat farmers in five Local Government Areas in Ogun State, Nigeria 1990



Percentage of respondents

Remo

Obafemi-Owode

Egbado North

Ifo

Ijebu-Ode

Unaware

98.3

100

86.1

90.0

81.7

Aware

1.7

-

13.9

10.0

18.3

Table 11. Willingness to establish alley farms/intensive feed gardens in five Local Government Areas in Ogun State, Nigeria, 1990



Percentage of respondents

Remo

Obafemi- Owode

Egbado North

Ifo

Ijebu-Ode

Willing to establish intensive feed gardens

50.0

-

40

40

27.0

Willing to establish alley farms

13.8

6.5

222

29.1

65.1

Undecided

36.2

93.5

37.8

30.9

7.9

When they were shown a detailed analysis of the benefits of investing in livestock feed, up to 85% of the small-ruminant farmers interviewed were willing to invest up to Naira 500 (about US$ 63) a year to purchase feed supplements. Some, however, were ready to stake up to US$ 380, provided they could be guaranteed a return from such investments. Granted that nutrition is just one of the small-ruminant production constraints in sub-Saharan Africa, with a good nutritional base, other factors could be kept to the barest minimum.

CONCLUSION

Browse plants supplemented with some agricultural byproducts form an essential component of goat and sheep diets in Ogun State, south-west Nigeria. Small-ruminants owners invest minimally in livestock production and so have to resort to cheap green feeds and supplements while allowing the animals to fend for themselves. Browses are fed to small ruminants when they are readily available and because farmers believe browses initiate rapid weight gains in their animals. However, most small-ruminant owners do not cultivate forage because land and planting materials are scarce, and they are reluctant to invest in non-food-crop production. A lot of extension work still needs to be done to interest rural farmers forage-producing technologies; such technologies could provide important feed resources, especially during the dry period when available grasses are low in feed quality.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The National Livestock Projects Department is gratefully acknowledged for support of this research.

REFERENCES

Devendra C and Burns M. 1983. Goat production in the tropics. Commonwealth Agricultural Bureaux, Wallingford, UK. 184 pp.

Fomunyam R T and Meffeja F. 1987. Cassava by-products in rabbit and sheep diets. In: Little D A and Said A N (eds), Utilization of agricultural by-products as livestock feeds in Africa. Proceedings of a workshop held at Ryall's Hotel, Blantyre, Malawi, September 1986. ARNAB (African Research Network for Agricultural By-products). ILCA (International Livestock Centre for Africa), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. pp. 103-107.

le Houérou H N. 1983. Chemical composition and nutritive value of browse in tropical West Africa. In: le Houérou H N (ed), Browse in Africa: The current state of knowledge. ILCA (International Livestock Centre for Africa), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. pp. 261-289.

Jones R J. 1979. The value of Leucaena leucocephala as feed for ruminants in the tropics. World Animal Review 31:13-23.

Onwuka C F I. 1991. Tannin and saponin contents of some tropical browse species fed to goats. Tropical Agriculture (Trinidad) (In press).

Onwuka C F I, Akinsoyinu A O and Tewe O O. 1989. Feed value of some Nigerian browse plants: Chemical composition and "in vitro" digestibility. East African Agricultural and Forestry Journal 54:3.

Oyenuga V A. 1978. Nigeria's foods and feeding-stuffs. 3rd edition. Ibadan University Press, Ibadan, Nigeria. 99 pp.

Reynolds L. 1986. Small ruminant production: The present situation and possible nutritional interventions for improvement. ILCA Bulletin 25: 13-16. ILCA (International Livestock Centre for Africa), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Sumberg J E. 1985. Small ruminant feed production in a farming systems context. In: Sumberg J E and Cassaday K (eds), Sheep and goats in humid West Africa. Proceedings of the workshop on small ruminant production systems in the humid zone of West Africa, held in Ibadan, Nigeria, 23-26 January 1984. ILCA (International Livestock Centre for Africa), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. pp. 41-46.


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