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Chapter 6
Animal Nutrition and Production

Part and Total Replacement of Corn-Cotton Bran Mix by Pods of Prosopis juliflora (Sw) dc in Rations for Caged Goats during the Dry Season

July 1983–July 1984

Gilberto Bitu Primo
Marcio de Almeida Lima
Marizene de Jesus A. Coelho
María Presciliana de Brito Ferreira
Rogerio F. da Silva
María Elizabete T. de Miranda
Marcia dos Santos

Zootechnics Department, Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco


The low meat yield of goats during the summer period stems mainly from nutritional constraints, particularly at the stage preceding slaughter.

At the Brazilian Northeast, during certain periods of the year, the erratic nature of rainfall provokes a considerable drop in forage yields, with the result of weight loss, slower growth and low carcass yield when slaughtered (Medeiros et al. 1980). Additionally, goat fattening at farm level has been indiscriminately carried out, with no ideal weight or age control to optimize productivity.

To Figueiredo et al. (1980), weight gain rates and carcass characteristics are important parameters to be taken into consideration, while Bellaver et al. recommend the animal to weigh above 16 kg at slaughter time, considering the high correlation between live weight and hide weight. Thus, according to Bellaver et al. (1979), goats cannot be thought of solely as meat producers, but also as skin producers, considering that the hide accounts for 35% of the live animal value.

The solution to the forage scarcity problem and rationing to avoid weight losses or weight gain seasonality in animals destined for slaughtering, may come from using fodder that can be produced at low cost under the region's edaphoclimatic conditions.

Thus, this project was aimed at lending greater rationality to the exploitation of fattening goats, and at increasing economic yield through the supply of alternative low-cost fodder.

One of the options tested was P. juliflora pods as a substitute for cotton bran/corn mix, traditionally used in most ruminant feed rations. Thus, Buzio et al. (1972), working with rams, replaced progressively sorghum by P. juliflora pod flour and found no effects on feed intake, although the diet with a larger share of P. juliflora pods (60%) produced lower weight gains.

Silva et al. (1983) replaced progressively wheat bran for P. juliflora pods in proportions of 25%, 75% and 100% in rations for bovines and observed better dry matter, crude protein, digestible protein, and total digestible nutrient conversions at treatments from 25% to 100% pod content.

Primo et al. (1983) studies various associations of Opuntia ficus indica and elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum Schum) at an advanced vegetative state, complemented with 500 g of Prosopis pods per goat/day during the dry season, finding that all combinations furnished nutrients for goat maintenance. Corroborating these findings, Lima et al. (1984) tested a number of combinations of Opuntia and elephant grass in advanced vegetative state on confined srd ovines, complemented with 500 g of Prosopis pods per animal/day, and found that any one of the combinations tested can be recommended to feed ovines during the dry season.

Campelo et al. (1980) studied the total replacement of corn grain by sorghum grain in rations for confined Bhuj crossbreeds and found that sorghum provided a 9.2% savings and substituted corn under the same conditions.

Considering the scant data regarding the use of P. juliflora pods as a replacement for other products considered good in the composition of ruminant rations, an effort was made to study its efficiency associated with other low-cost ingredients in feeding penned goats during the dry season.

Material and Methods

The experimental work was conducted at the facilities of the Zootechnics Department of the Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco, Recife.

Twenty-five covered individual cages were built initially, 1.5 m wide and 1.3 m long, with cement floor and wire mesh on the sides. Every cage contained 4 troughs for the supply of bulk and concentrate, mineral mix and water. Parallel to this, one hectare was planted with Pennisetum purpureum Schum, a grass used as livestock feed.

Prior to bringing the animals to the facilities, thorough hygienization of same was performed, using a mix of quicklime and chemicals.

25 whole male Moxotó × srd crossbreed goats were used, averaging 16.4 kg in live weight, brought from the Ibinirim district, Moxotó Valley, State of Pernambuco. The animals were allotted into randomized blocks among 5 treatments, with 5 replications, being previously branded and weighed. During the adaptation stage (14 days), all animals were vaccinated against hoof-and-mouth disease, and a specific vermifuge was applied for the parasites identified in the laboratory through examination of the faeces.

The experimental period extended for 70 days, the animals being weighed every 14 days.

The treatments were as follows:

T1(control): 50% sorghum + 20% cotton bran + 30% ground corn;
T2: 49.6% sorghum + 15.5% cotton bran + 22.0% ground corn + 12.5% ground P. juliflora pods + 0.4% urea;
T3: 48.9% sorghum + 10.0% cotton bran + 15% ground corn + 25% ground P. juliflora pods + 1.1% urea;
T4: 48.3% sorghum + 5.0% cotton bran + 7.5% ground corn + 37.5% ground P. juliflora pods + 2.2% urea;
T5: 47.8% sorghum + 50% ground P. juliflora pods + 2.2% urea.

Each goat was given elephant grass daily ad libitum —but previously weighted— and 400 g of ration.

During the subsequent days the feed left over by the animals was weighed, with the purpose of determining individual intake.

Samples from each ingredient in the ration were collected for laboratory analysis, with the purpose of determining the percentage of crude protein and formulating isoprotein rations for each treatment.

The animals had access to a mineral mix made up of common salt + mineral salt + bonemeal.

Every 15 days, faeces were collected to identify possible parasites and to control the effectiveness of the vermifuges applied. In view of the incidence of eimeriosis in most of the animals, products with a sulfa base were applied. The boxes were hygienized daily, by washing and removing waste materials.

All expenses throughout the execution of the trial were recorded, with the purpose of performing a cost-benefit analysis at the end of the research project.

Results and Discussion

Final results in weight gain showed advantage for treatment T4 (P<0.05), while among the rest of the treatments there was no significant difference. Mean daily weight gain per animal for treatments T1, T2, T3, T4, and T5 were, respectively, 38.5 g; 34.0 g; 5.7 g; 47.7 g; and 14.3 g. These results, when compared with those obtained by Barros and Filho (1982), using P. juliflora pods as progressive replacement for molasses in sheep rations, are satisfactory on account of their advantage in daily weight gain. However, Lima et al. (1984), working with ovines under confinement using various combinations of Opuntia and elephant grass complemented with P. juliflora pods, found greater weight gains. Campello et al. (1980) also found an 80-g mean daily weight gain with confined goats when using rations with corn and 75 g using sorghum as substitute for corn.


Live animal weight (kg)19.4  ±       2.019.04±   2.9816.62  ±     4.6120.66±    3.9117.0  ±   2.5018.48±     3.46
Animal length (cm)51.6  ±      2.5051.4  ±   5.3151.40  ±     7.0552.8  ±    2.5850.2  ±   2.7751.48±     4.14
Live animal height (cm)54.8        2.2852.4  ±   2.8855.60  ±     1.8154.0  ±    3.9356.0  ±   2.8254.56±     2.90
Blood weight (g)744.4  ±  328.0618.6  ± 88.92497.0    ± 149.32755.6  ± 193.48 602.4  ± 87.79663.6   ± 207.5
Skin weight (kg)1.57±      0.211.40±   0.291.372±     0.471.62±    1.801.47±   0.481.48±    0.33
Head weight with horns (kg)1.30      0.211.18±   0.181.104±     0.321.32±    0.341.22±   0.081.22±     0.23
Head weight without horns1.06±      0.151.01   0.140.943±     0.261.18±    0.241.06±   0.081.03±     0.17
Carcass length (cm)54     ±      2.5452.20   2.8854.2    ±     3.1156.4  ±    2.4054.0  ±   2.7354.37±     3.51
Hind leg length (cm)34.6   ±      1.5137.4  ±   2.3036.6    ±     2.0735.4    ±    2.4036.4  ±   2.1936.28±     2.15
Torax depth (cm)18.8    ±      2.018.0   ±   1.5818.0    ±     1.2218.6  ±    1.5119.2  ±   1.7818.52±     1.58
Edible viscera weight (kg)3.23 ±      1.144.25±   0.933.29         1.534.56±    1.354.32±   0.63.93±     1.20
Viscera weight without ruminal content1.7   ±      0.551.76±   0.251.56    ±     0.531.80±    0.281.36±    .371.61±     0.41
Liver weight (g)319.5   ±    37.5355.5  ± 90.6305        ±   66.95371.32± 120.61306.59± 48.89332.02±   29.02
Lung weight (g)186.6       51.71159.4  ± 39.58161.7     ±   56.66191.2  ±   47.47158.64± 25.37171.5   ±   44.02
Heart weight (g)117.6    ±    11.28127.7  ± 22.63101.82   ±   40.19133.6     41.5798.76± 11.55115.93±   29.61
Kidney weight (g) 201.82  ±    62.44183.32± 57.86153.72   ±   82.92251.0  ±   61.81114.82± 25.76180.93±   72.67
Testicle weight (g)141.0   ±    30.83141.1  ± 10.50139.82   ±   61.84172.5  ±   29.55158.4  ± 38.46150.56  ±   37.16
Trachea weight (g)123.6   ±    23.92160.1  ± 40.93154.72   ±   41.2897.4  ±   18.7994.98 ±34.09125.84±   40.48
Spleen weight (g) 31.52  ±      8.4826.2  ±   6.6824.9     ±     5.2929.4  ±     6.2625.0  ±   4.8987.4   ±     6.43
Warm carcass weight (kg)9.12  ±      1.138.64±   0.687.70   ±     2.6810.02±     1.857.54±   1.058.44±     2.00
Cold carcass weight (kg) 8.87   ±      1.118.65±   1.117.58   ±     2.6410.30±     1.996.34±   1.228.22±     2.10


Date            /                                         /              

Animal No.Bulk LeftoverRation LeftoverAnimal No.Bulk LeftoverRation LeftoverAnimal No.Bulk LeftoverRation LeftoverAnimal No.Bulk LeftoverRation LeftoverAnimal No.Bulk LeftoverRation Leftover

Mean daily dry matter intake per animal was 49.5 g; 45.3 g; 45.5 g; 54.1 g, and 48.8 g, respectively, for treatments T1, T2, T3, T4, and T5.

Mean yield of warm carcass was 46.9% for T1; 45.9% for T2; 45.6% for T3; 48.5% for T4, and 44.4% for T5. These findings evidenced the important effect of the treatments on carcass yield, when confronted with those obtained by Figueiredo et al. (1980) for old she-goats and young males, with yields of 34.5%; by Medeiros et al. (1980), with goats subjected to different production systems with yields varying from 32.3% 39.6%; and by Padilla (1980), who obtained a 39% yield in goats slaughtered with 17 kg live weight.

Correlations between animal live weight at slaughtering and warm carcass weight were high, with a significant effect (P<0.01) for treatments T3 and T4, and significant (P<0.05) for treatment T1. The ratio between warm and cold carcass weight was significant (P<0.01) for treatment T3.

The correlations made between animal live weight and height and size showed significant results (P<0.01) only for treatment T4. In a way, it is probable that in some cases inaccuracies may have resulted from measuring live animals.

Carcass yield was significatively influenced by carcass size, hind leg size and girth, and torax depth.

Simple correlation between animal live weight and skin weight showed significant effects for treatments T2, T3 and T5.

Table 1 shows the mean values with their corresponding standard deviations for different parameters per treatment, at animal slaughtering. These data facilitate a more detailed analysis of carcass yield, through the incidence of each carcass component.


The following conclusions were derived from the findings of this study:

  1. The non adaptation of the goats to a confined regime may have contributed, in part, to reduced consumption and, therefore, lower weight gain.
  2. Weight gain of some animals in different treatments was affected by eimeriosis.
  3. Carcass yield was positively influenced by the different treatments.
  4. P. juliflora pods combined with urea substituted 75% of corn/cotton bran mix in caged goat rations.
  5. Use of P. juliflora pods in terminal feeding of goats constitutes an alternative option for animal feed in the semi-arid tropic of the State of Pernambuco.


barbosa, h. p. and campos, j., 1981: “Determinação do valor nutritivo da algaroba (Prosopis juliflora (Sw) dc) a través do ensaio de digestibilidade com carneiros,” Revista da Sociedade Brasileira de Zootecnia 10 (4): 631–652.

barros, n.a.m.t.e. de, and filho, j.l.o. de, 1982: “Efeito da substitucão progressiva do melaco por vagems se algaroba (Prosopis juliflora (Sw) dc) na alimentação de ovinos,” Proceedings of the xix meeting of Sociedade Brasileira de Zootecnia, 19 Piracicaba, sp, pp. 285–86.

bellaver, c.; oliveira, e.r. de, and figueiredo, e.a.p., 1979: “O peso como fator técnico economico da comercialização de peles caprinas e ovinas tropicais,” embrapa, Sobra-ce, pp. 1–4, research in progress.

campello, e.c.b. do; lima, n.a. de; primo, c.b.; lima, l.m. de; lafayette, j.w.s. and sa, l.c. de, 1980: “Emprego de grão de sorgo e de milho na alimentação de caprinos, em regime de confinamento,” Proceedings of the I Congresso Brasileiro de Zootecnia - xvii annual meeting of the Sociedade Brasileira de Zootecnia, pp. 66–67.

figueiredo, h.a.p. de; simplicio, a.a.; riera, g.s. and lima, f., 1980: “Crescimento e características de carcaça de caprinos criados em sistema tradicional da manejo no Nordeste,” embrapa, Sobral-ce, Centro Nacional de Pesquisa de Caprinos, pp. 1–3. (Comunicado Técnico)

lima, m.a. de; primo, g.b.; azevedo, n.v. de; carvalho, f.r. de; brito, m.p. and brito, v.f. de, 1984: “Emprego da associação palma forrageira de capim elefante em estádio vegetativo avançado na alimentação de ovinos no semi-árido de Pernambuco,” Proceedings of the Sociedade Brasileira de Zootecnia, 218 - Bello Horizonte, p. 328.

medeiros, l.p.; girao, r.n.; leal, j.a. and neves, f.c. das, 1980: “Rendimento de carcaça de caprinos submetidos a diferentes sistemas de produção,” embrapa, uepae - Teresina, pp. 1–3, research in progress.

primo, g.b.; lima, n.a. de; carvalho, f.r. de; brito, m.p. and brito, v.f.f. de, 1983: “Emprego de associação palma forrageira e capim elefante em estádio vegetativo avançado na alimentação de caprinos no semi-árido de Pernambuco,” Proceedings of the xx annual meeting of the Sociedade Brasileira da Zootecnia - Pelotas, r.s., p. 95.

silva, d.s.; leitao, s.c. and filho, j.j.o., 1983: “Substituição do farelo de trigo pelo fruto triturado da algaroba (Prosopis juliflora (Sw) dc) na alimentação de bovinos de corte em confinamento. II. Consumo e conversão alimentar,” Proceedings of the xx meeting of the Sociedade Brasileira de Zootecnia, Pelotas, R.S., p. 76.

buzo, j.; avila, r. and bravo, f.d., 1972: “Efecto de la substitución progresiva de sorgo por vaina de mesquite en la alimentación de los borregos,” Técnica Pecuaria en México, 20: 23–27.

Effect of Progressive Replacement of Molasses by Prosopis juliflora (Sw) dc pods in Ruminant Rations

Nésio Antonio Moreira T. de Barros
Associate Professor
Universidade Federal de Rio Grande do Norte

José Leite de Queiroz Filho
Associate Professor, Universidade Federal de Paraíba


The formulation of practical and economical rations can be best arrived at by assessing all the animal requirements and then establishing the budget to meet those requirements with feed palatable to the animals and having adequate characteristics at the lowest possible cost.

This is essential for cattle farmers in the Northeast, an area which, due to the semi-arid conditions prevailing, has scant feed resources to offer, both qualitatively and quantitatively, therefore being it necessary to count on fodder to meet the animals' requirements.

The inclusion of supplements to boost energy and protein supply for grazing animals has been the subject of many studies throughout the world, particularly in those areas where low-quality fodder predominates.

P. juliflora pods are a valid option for animal feed, mainly as a result of their nutritive value and of the economic viability of its production under the semi-arid conditions of the Brazilian Northeast. P. juliflora, together with few native fodder species, retains all its leaves during the dry season, showing even satisfactory output levels. Therefore, the introduction of this species may partly offset fodder scarcity during the dry season, improving thereby livestock raising prospects in some regions in the Northeast.

P. juliflora pods traditionally cultivated in the semi-arid Northeast, have characteristically high carbohydrate content and reasonable protein value (Barbosa, 1977). According to Aran (1922), these pods lend themselves better to feeding livestock when ground and turned into flour. Barbosa (1977) points out that pod crushing/drying does not influence voluntary intake by animals.

Trials carried out in Peru by Coronado and Olcese (undated), mentioned by Azevedo (1961), showed that P. juliflora pods present high digestibility coefficients (dry matter: 82.56%; crude protein: 80.13%; nitrogen-free extract: 83.19%). Barbosa (1977), in a P. juliflora pod digestibility trial, found the following mean values: dry matter: 71.1%; gross energy: 69.8%, and crude protein: 66.8%. Teixeira et al. (1977) state that the inclusion of legumes in supplements containing urea as source of nitrogen is beneficial, due mainly to the type and content of carbohydrates existing in fodder legumes.

The objective of this research work was to verify the nutritional value of P. juliflora pods as energy supplement replacing molasses in ruminant rations, containing urea as source of non-protein nitrogen.

Material and Methods

The trials were carried out at the Zootechnics Department of the Agricultural Sciences Center, Universidade Federal da Paraíba. The parameters used were dry matter apparent digestibility, crude protein, gross energy and nitrogen balance. Twenty castrated rams were used, of no defined breed; their tail was removed and a vermifuge was applied. A randomized block layout was used, with 5 treatments and 4 replications.

The rations had the following composition:

Foodstuffs and Proportion in the Formulation of Experimental Rations (%)

P. juliflora14.9132.4051.5576.39
Urea  5.74  5.60  5.45  5.20  4.88
Cotton bran25.8124.0021.8520.7018.73

Apart from the concentrated ration, all the animals received an equal amount of elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum Schum.) as bulk feed.

The material was collected using the technique described by Staples and Dinusson (1951), quoted by Velloso (1971). Ten percent of the total faeces of each animal were stored in a freezer at 0° – 10° C, as well as samples of the rations furnished and of the residues of each animal. At the beginning of each day, 20 ml of HCl (1 + 1) was poured into the urine collectors, with the purpose of preventing losses through volatilization. An aliquot equivalent to 5% of the total daily urine of each animal was removed and placed in a freezer at 0 – 10° C.

The trial lasted 21 days, with 14 for adaptation and 7 for data gathering, according to the procedure described by Harris (1970).

Results and Discussion

Effect of Treatments on Dry Matter, Gross Energy, Crude Protein Apparent Digestibilities and on Nitrogen Balance

D.M. Digestibility (%)58.457.055.554.355.3
G.E. Digestibility (%)75.074.475.173.777.8
C.P. Digestibility (%)80.580.682.279.784.0
Nitrogen balance (g/day)  0.4  1.2  1.4  0.4  2.1

Apparent dry matter digestibility was not influenced (P>0.05) by the treatments. As Table 2 shows, there was a tendency to decreased dry matter digestibility as molasses level was decreased and P. juliflora pod levels were increased in the ration. These findings are in line with those obtained by Silveira (1970); Watson and Nash (1960), quoted by Tosi (1972); Hatch and Beeson (1972), and Bell et al. (1953), who unanimously pointed out the beneficial effect of molasses on dry matter digestibility. The treatment not including molasses (Treatment E) but having the highest proportion of P. juliflora pods also presented a reasonable dry matter digestibility index, associated with the abundance of cho in these pods; similar findings were obtained by Castro et al. (1975) when they replaced molasses by cassava sugar.

As Table 2 shows, no significant difference (P>0.05) was observed among the apparent gross energy digestibility coefficients, which ranged from 73.7% to 77.8%.

The literature reviewed points out that P. juliflora pods present very high digestibility coefficients for gross energy. In this trial, however, P. juliflora pods were not used as the only feed, but as a substitute for molasses, and it may be stated that the ration's energy levels affected gross energy digestibility; it was medium-high when energy levels where higher. This may be due to higher activity of rumen micro-organisms, stimulated by better nutrient balance in the rations. Mendes et al. (1975) obtained similar results. Pervez and Battacharya (1973), in digestibility trials where urea was used as a supplement, found high digestibility indices for gross energy (71.9%), similar to those found in this study.

The experimental rations' crude protein apparent digestibility was not influenced (P>0.05) by the treatments.

High values for crude protein digestibility were found in this study, similar to those reported by other authors. Silva et al. (1975) found significant differences for crude protein digestibility in treatments containing sources of starch. White et al. (1972) state that crude protein digestibility indices tended to increase when urea, in addition to the starch source, was added as a supplement. Those findings are in line with the results of this study.

The effects of adding molasses on crude protein digestibility are described by several authors. Martin and Wing (1966) found no effect of molasses on crude protein digestibility, but David et al. (1955); Vargas et al. (1964), quoted by Martin and Wing (1966); Brooks (1967), quoted by Kronka and Silveira (1973); Bell et al. (1953); and Tosi (1972) all reported that molasses had a depressing effect on crude protein digestibility.

The findings of these authors agree with those of this study, for a tendency to decreased crude protein digestibility was observed as molasses content was increased in the rations.

No effect was observed (P>0.05) by the treatments on nitrogen balance, expressed as g/day. The data showed, however, that all treatments promoted a positive nitrogen balance. A tendency was observed (except for treatment D, under which the animals (2) suffered higher stress effects) for the N balance to increase as the P. juliflora pod proportion was increased in the rations. These findings agree with those reported by Helmer and Bartley (1971), quoted by Silva et al. (1979), who found that starch was superior to soluble sugars, such as molasses or glucose, as regards increase in nitrogen retention. Ruiz et al. (1977) state that the type of energy available for protein synthesis starting from non-protein nitrogen, has considerable effect on utilization of same. As can be seen, nitrogen use in rumen depends fundamentally of the presence of carbohydrates, which, by supplying energy and carbon, make ammonia fixation possible, reducing its loss through absorption by rumen, contributing thus to increasing microbial protein synthesis.

Some researchers, such as Brown et al. (1964), quoted in Hatch and Berson (1972); Bell et al. (1953) and Williams et al. (1969) have shown that molasses tend to lower nitrogen utilization. This finding agrees to a certain extent with those obtained here, for the higher the level of molasses supplied, the lower the nitrogen balance observed.

Similar findings were reported by Bell et al. (1953), who mention that nitrogen retention diminished when corn was replaced by molasses in rations. The same authors point out that when corn was supplemented with urea, a sizable increase in nitrogen retention was observed. In our research, this supplement was also tested, but it did not produce high nitrogen retention.


The following conclusions were derived from the findings of this study:

Dry matter apparent digestibility showed a tendency to increase with higher proportion of molasses in the rations. This trend was not confirmed statistically. Gross energy and crude protein apparent digestibility showed a tendency to increase as the proportion of P. juliflora pods was increased in the rations, a trend which was not confirmed statistically.

Nitrogen balance improved as the proportion of P. juliflora pods was increased in the rations, a trend not proved statistically.


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velloso, l., 1971: “Estudo sobre a digestibilidade aparente e o balanço metabólico dos nutrientes de uma ração balanceada contendo melaço e uréia, mediante ensaio com zebuinos em crescimento,” Piracicaba, Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz, 72 p. (M. Sc. Thesis)

tosi, h., 1972: “Efeito da adição de níveis crescentes de melaço na ensilagem do campim elefante variedade napier,” Piracicaba, Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz, 87 p. (M. Sc. Thesis)

white, t.w.; hembry, f.g. and reynolds, w.l., 1972: “Influence of grinding supplemental nitrogen source and roughage on the digestibility of corn,” J. Anim. Sci., 34 (4): 672–76.

williams, l.d.; moore, j.d.; martin, l.c. and tillman, a.d., 1969: “Studies on liquid hemicellulose and cane molasses as carbohydrate sources in urea-containing diet of sheep,” J. Anim.' Sci., 28 (5): 667–72.

Utilization of Flour from Prosopis juliflora Pods as a Substitute for Wheat Flour in Rations for Egg-Laying Hens

Alberto Soares da Silva


The State of Pernambuco has a considerable production of poultry and eggs, exceeding that of the Northern and Northeastern Regions of Brazil. Pereira (1984) reports that the State's poultry stocks, as of December 31, 1984, amounted to 460,000 brooding hens, 4,600,000 egg-laying hens, 5,400,000 broiler chickens and that the mean annual wheat (Triticum vulgare) flour consumption by brooding hens and egg-laying hens reached 436,800 thirty-kg bags.

Dounis (1981) warns that “the problem of insufficient raw materials and the growing dependence on supplies from other regions of the country, and even from abroad, constitute the most severe obstacle faced by the activity” and that this unsufficiency makes “the rations produced here show higher production costs, around 25% higher than those produced at the southern central region of the country.”

In light of the above, it becomes mandatory that research be intensified with the specific objective of utilizing less orthodox sources of raw materials for the formulation of balanced rations for domestic fowl.

Wheat bran, one of the main products used for rations not only of poultry, but also of a number of other animal species, may be considered as one of the main products on which the Northeast has total dependence on outside suppliers. The availability of this commodity in the world depends mainly on the productivity of the mills, as wheat flour is traditionally destined to human consumption in Brazil. On account of its having peculiar nutritive characteristics and prices subsidized by the government, wheat bran finds its way into the composition of rations. However, during the drier seasons and prolonged droughts, when pasture reserves are scant, the demand for this product increases, with a consequent rise in price which turns its use as feed prohibitive.

The scientific incorporation of flour from Prosopis juliflora (Sw) pods in ration formulas for domestic animals and, particularly, broiler chickens and egg-laying hens, is economically important for the Northeastern Region, considering the following factors:

The basic objectives of this research work were:

  1. To study the technical and economic feasibility of using flour from P. juliflora pods, an unorthodox source of raw material, as a substitute for wheat bran in rations for egg-laying hens at the Northeastern region;
  2. To contribute to the opening of research lines which may encourage and assist other technicians or researchers who seek to further the utilization of non-orthodox sources of raw materials available in the Northeast, to replace wheat bran and other products traditionally used in the formulation of balanced poultry rations.

Materials and methods

Experimental work was carried out at the Carpina experimental station, which belongs to the Zootechnics Department of the Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco. The trials stretched over 12 periods of 28 days each, starting on November 25, 1983, and ending on October 25, 1984.

256 Dekalb egg-laying hens were used, acquired as one-day-old chicks on June 9, 1985. The trials started when the hens were 22 weeks old and were fully into egg-laying.

Prophylactic care and general management standards followed rigorously the recommendations set forth by the Carpina Experimental Station. All hens received vaccinations, light, vermifuges and other care regardless of treatment.

The formulation of the experimental rations was processed at the Carpina station itself, acquiring all the ingredients locally, with the sole exception of P. juliflora pod flour, which was supplied by Supranor, at the Pesqueira district in Pernambuco.

The hens were distributed at random in 1-meter cages, with four divisions containing 2 hens each. They were given commercial rations until 22 weeks of age. A randomized block layout was used with subdivided plots containing 16 hens each, with four treatments and four replications. The treatments studied were:

  1. 100% wheat: ground corn, soybean bran, wheat bran, bonemeal, calcium, premix and methionine.
  2. ⅔ wheat flour; ⅓ P. juliflora pod flour: ground corn, soybean flour, wheat flour, P. juliflora pod flour, bonemeal, calcium, premix and methionine.
  3. ⅓ wheat flour; ⅔ P. juliflora pod flour: ground corn, soybean bran, wheat bran, P. juliflora pod flour, bonemeal, calcium, premix and methionine.
  4. 100% P. juliflora pod flour: ground corn, soybeam bran, wheat bran, P. juliflora pod flour, bonemeal, calcium, premix and methionine.

All rations, as well as water, were provided ad libitum.

At the beginning of the experiment, the birds were selected from an existing poultry farm, with the purpose of obtaining hens of very similar characteristics.

Eggs were collected four times a day, twice in the morning and twice in the afternoon, weighing all the eggs after the last collection.

Ration consumption was determined by weighing the hens every 28 days.

Disease presence was checked by observation of anatomical condition at the end of the experiment; 20% of the hens was sacrificed, performing necropsy and a complementary hemogram.

Mortality was entered into the situation records at the same day of occurrence.

Results and Discussion

Tables 1, 2, 3, and 4 show the data on mean egg weight, mean daily ration intake, ration conversion; ration intake, amount of eggs laid (in dozens); and ration intake/kg of eggs produced.

Egg mean weight from hens receiving 100% P. juliflora pod flour instead of wheat bran was higher, although not significant in statistical terms.

Mean Egg Weight

Treatments  Egg mean weight (g)
1.W.100     %Pj.    0     % *58.76
2.W.  66.66%Pj.  33.34%59.48
3.W.  33.34%Pj.  66.66%59.00
4.W.    0     %Pj.100     %59.34

* T.: Wheat bran; Pj.: P. juliflora pod flour

Mean Daily Ration Intake

Treatments  Mean daily ration intake (g)
1.W.100     %Pj.    0     % *107.88
2.W.  66.66%Pj.  33.34%106.52
3.W.  33.34%Pj.  66.66%107.14
4.W.    0    %Pj.100     %107.50

* W.: Wheat bran; Pj.: P. juliflora pod flour

Ration Conversion, Ration Intake in kg per Dozen Eggs Laid

Treatments  Ration conversion
1.W.100     %Pj.    0     % *1.58
2.W.  66.66%Pj.  33.34%1.62
3.W.  33.34%Pj.  66.66%1.57
4.W.    0    %Pj.100.0  %1.55

* W.: Wheat bran; Pj.: P. juliflora pod flour

Ration Conversion, Ration Intake and Egg Weight

Treatments  Ration intake in kg/ Egg weight
1.W.100     %Pj.     0    % *2.22
2.W.  66.66%Pj.  33.34%2.28
3.W.  33.34%Pj.  66.66%2.20
4.W.100    %Pj.100     %2.18

* W.: Wheat bran; Pj.: P. juliflora pod flour


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cepa-pe, 1985: “Projeto de Algaroba,” Recife, 30 p.

dounis, c., 1981: “Importancia da Racionalização do Comércio Avícola em Pernambuco,” Congreso Brasileiro de Avicultura, Proceedings 7, Recife, V. 1

pereira neto, a.g., 1985: “Relatório Técnico de avipe,” Recife, 9 p.

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