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Hansen et al., 2008. Livest. Res. Rural Dev., 20 (3): 33

Document reference 
Hansen, H. H. ; Sanou, L. ; Nacoulma, B. M. I., 2008. Tree leaves in the diet of free-ranging ruminants in three areas of Burkina Faso. Livest. Res. Rural Dev., 20 (3): 33

A study was undertaken to document the botanical composition of diets of free ranging cattle and small ruminants in three separate areas of Burkina Faso, as the first step towards improved use and management of trees. Faecal samples were taken from cattle at three sites and from small ruminants at one site for 1 year and plant particles in the faeces were identified in order to determine the tree species the animals ate. Differences in climate and vegetation availability were reflected in the ingested diets. Small ruminants in Kalenga ingested the largest number of all plant species and the largest number of browse species in the three areas. Cattle in Nobere and small ruminants in Kalenga ingested similar proportions of browse species compared to cattle in Peni and Kalenga that ingested a smaller proportion of browse species. None of the animals in any of the areas ingested an average of more than 25% browse in their diets. Feretia apodanthera and Crossopteryx febrifuga were the most persistently consumed browse species by cattle and small ruminants, respectively, and may represent an unexplored nutritional potential. Other species included Acacia sieberiana, Annona senegalensis, Balanites aegyptiaca, Bombax costatum, Capparis corymbosa, Cassia sieberiana, Cola cordifolia, Combretum fragrans, Combretum glutinosum, Daniellia oliveri, Diospyros mespiliformis, Gardenia aqualla, Mangiferaindica, Maranthes polyandra, Parinari curatellifolia, Tectona grandis, Vitellaria paradoxa, Ziziphus mauritiana and Z. mucronata. The relatively small amount of browse in the diets may be due to palatability factors, vegetation availability, lack of knowledge about nutritional content or conscious restriction by villagers.

Citation key 
Hansen et al., 2008