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Choongo et al., 2008. Livest. Res. Rural Dev., 20 (5): 73

Document reference 
Choongo, K. ; Siulapwa, N. J. ; Mwaanga, E. ; Muzandu, K. ; Siyumbi, S., 2008. Effects of Dichrostachys cinerea supplementation on weight gain and rumen protozoa in cattle. Livest. Res. Rural Dev., 20 (5): 73

Poor weight gain and low conception rate of cattle is mainly a result of poor nutrition. The conventional protein supplements are usually too expensive for farmers. Browse plants could be an alternative source of crude protein and/or indirect microbial protein. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of dry season supplementation with Dicrostachys cinerea on weight gain and rumen protozoa in cattle.

The study was conducted for one year in yearling Friesian bulls with average weight of 105 kg. Four were randomly allocated to Dicrostachys cinerea group and five to the control group. All animals grazed together up to 14:00 hours but supplemented in individual pens from 14:00 hours to 08:30 hours the following morning. Ciliate protozoa from each group were counted before and after the commencement of feeding.

The daily weight gains for the Dicrostachys cinerea group in August–November, December, January-February, March-April, May, June, July and August, were 393, 414, 892, 655, 635, 360, 200 and 114 g/day respectively. Weight gains for the control group during the same periods were, 39, 428, 1846, 500, 384, 120, 54 and 23 g/day. In January and February, the control group exhibited compensatory gain. However, the compensatory period was too short for the group to gain its original status of being heavier than the Dicrostachys cinerea group. The population of ciliate protozoa in the Dicrostachys cinerea group decreased by 55% while there was no change in the control group.

Dicrostachys cinerea supplementation significantly increased daily weight gain in cattle. The weight gain was the same for daily or weekly supplementation and could not be offset by compensatory gain in the control group. The defaunating ability of Dicrostachys cinerea in addition to its crude protein played a significant role in increasing weight gain. However, more studies are required for optimising Dicrostachys cinerea supplementation.

Citation key 
Choongo et al., 2008