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Effect of Feeding Different Levels of Prosopis cineraria Dry Leaves and Barley Grain on Growth Performance and Body Conformations of Goat Kids

Priyanka Meena Athar Uddin Vinod Kumar Paswan Satya Prakash Yadav
Vol 8(7), 201-211

This study was conducted to assess the body weight gain, body conformational changes and to develop the equation to predict the body weight gain based on body measurements in goat kids fed with different level of diets. Twenty seven goat kids divided into three equal groups were fed for 90 days on a composite feed mixture (CFM), prepared with roughage Prosopis cineraria dry leaves and barley grain in ratio of 80:20 (D1), 60:40 (D2) and 40:60 (D3) respectively, along with 2% mineral mixture and 1% common salt. The percentage of DM, CP, NDF, ADF, cellulose, lignin and tannins was higher in D1 and D2 than that of D3 CFM. The final body weight, height, heart girth and punch girth were higher (P<0.05) in D3 (15.88kg, 57.77, 58.72 and 65.69 cm) followed by D1 (14.40 kg, 56.63, 57.94 and 64.02 cm) and D2 (13.92 kg, 57.44, 56.91 and 63.25 cm) kids, whereas, the length was higher in D1 (47.63 cm) followed by D2 (47.47 cm) and D3 (47.41) CFM fed kids. The total body weight gain and average daily gain were highest (P<0.05) in D3 (3.39 kg and 43.70 g) and lowest in the D2 (3.08 kg and 34.32 g) kids. Total feed intake (kg) during the experiment was higher (P<0.05) in D1 (53.02) and D3 (51.46) than in D2 (50.97) kids. The group-wise regression coefficients (R2) for predicting the body weight gain using the body conformations ranged from 73.81 (D3) to 97.68% (D1), whereas the overall R2 was 84.47%. The study revealed that body measurements can be used for prediction of body weight. It is also concluded that a mixture of Prosopis cineraria dry leaves and barley grain in ratio of 80:20 proved better for feeding of kids.

Keywords : Body Conformations Goat Kids Growth Performances Prosopis cineraria Leaves

Animal growth is the function of cell multiplication, which requires balanced supply of energy and protein for optimized growth performance. Since at younger age protein deposition favoured due to muscular development hence higher levels of dietary protein require, while at maturity and older stage fat deposition takes place therefore protein need reduces and energy need increases. Kids, those grow faster attains marketable weight at a younger age, which generally means that they require a shorter feeding period and have less risk of death loss. Faster growth potential of kid has higher nutritional needs, especially with regards to protein for bone and tissue growth. Creep feeding and supplemental feeding of lambs and kids are practiced to sustain high early growth and to attain early finishing weight.

Improved livestock production could be achieved through cultivation of high quality forage adapted to local conditions as well as feeding concentrate. Concentrate feeds promote rapid growth of goat, reduce methane and increase propionate production  in rumen, thereby lowering energy losses and contributing to higher overall efficiency of utilization of dietary energy for body weight gain (Mandebvu and Galbraith, 1999). Therefore, tree foliage or forage based ruminant feeding with an appropriate level of concentrate may provide optimum nutrient balance to improve animal productivity. Existing feedstuffs in tropical countries often provide inadequate energy, protein, minerals and vitamins to support optimum animal productivity (Reed et al., 1990). Growing small ruminants supplemented with concentrates in addition to grazing in semi-arid regions of India (Karim et al., 2007), is the prevailing kid production system; however their growth performance is not optimum. The forage based ruminant feeding with an appropriate level of concentrate may provide optimum nutrient balance to improve the animal productivity. Therefore, the present study was conducted to assess the weight gain on different roughage concentrate ratio and body conformational changes in goat kids to develop the prediction equations to have a computed idea regarding body weight gain based on the body measurements in kids fed different level of diets.

Materials and Methods

The experiment was conducted at goat farm, S.K.N. college of Agriculture, Jobner District Jaipur, (Rajasthan, India). Twenty seven goat kids were randomly allotted to 3 equal groups of 9 of each in Completely Randomized Design (CRD). Kids were penned in well-ventilated enclosures for the experiment. Three experimental composite feed mixtures (CFMs) were prepared by varying roughage to concentrate levels with dry Khejri leaves and barley grain in ratio of 80:20, 60:40 and 40:60 respectively, along with 2% mineral mixture and 1% common salt. The feeding trail of kids was continued for 90 days. The three CFMs was fed ad-libitum to kids of three groups individually. The amount of feed offered and the refusal was weighed for each animal to determine the feed intake. All animals had free access of clean fresh drinking water.

Feed samples were collected at weekly intervals and then pooled, mixed thoroughly for further analysis. These samples were analysed for dry matter (DM), crude protein (CP) and total ash according to AOAC (2000). Neutral detergent fiber (NDF), acid detergent fibre (ADF), cellulose, hemicelluloses and lignin were analysed following the procedures of Van Soest et al. (1991). The growth trial lasted for 90 days in randomized block design during which feed intake was recorded daily. The body weight and body conformations viz. height, length, heart girth and punch girth of the kids were recorded for 2 consecutive days at fortnightly intervals before offering feed and water. The mean records of 2 days weight were used to determine the growth and body conformational changes. Pattern of growth and body conformations was calculated at fortnightly intervals.

The data on feed intake and feed efficiency ratio were subjected to test of significance among the treatments using least square analysis of variance (SPSS for windows release 16.0.0). The significant treatment means were compared by Duncan’s multiple range tests. Fortnightly change in body weight and body conformation of individual kids was traced by fitting polynomial curves and the generated constants were subjected to analysis of variance to assess treatment difference. The pooled constants of 3 groups are presented in fig. 1 to show their growth and body size profile. Group-wise and overall prediction equations for body weight on the basis of body conformations were fitted using multiple linear regressions.

Results and Discussion

The kids of three groups were fed with varying level of barley (concentrate) along with Khejri dry leaves to have low, medium and high plan of nutrition and offered grinded barley at 20%, 40% and 60% of the diet respectively along with 2% mineral mixture and 1% common salt. The result pertaining to chemical composition of diets, growth performance, feed efficiency and body measurements of kids are as follows.

Table 1: Chemical compositions (%) of feed ingredients and diets

Attributes Diets* Major Ingredients
D1 D2 D3 Khejri(Prosopis cineraria) leaves Barley grain
Dry matter 97.91 97.88 97.83 97.95 97.82
Organic matter 90.85 92.1 93.6 89.5 96.55
Crude protein 13.54 13.18 12.99 14.97 12.07
Crude fat 3.22 2.75 2.52 3.4 2.24
NDF 37.63 33.7 32.2 39.31 27.02
ADF 26.09 20.25 15.08 29.27 5.82
Hemicellulose 11.54 13.45 16.92 10.04 21.18
Cellulose 11.03 9.38 7.28 12.19 5.18
Ash 9.87 7.7 6.55 10.49 3.44
Lignin 13.32 10.78 6.88 16.25 0.49
Total phenols 10.43 8.75 6.94 12.16 3.48
Total tannins 10.09 8.45 6.8 11.73 3.47
Condensed tannins 3.65 2.95 2.2 4.29 0.91

*Diets fed to kids contained Khejri (Prosopis cineraria) dry leaves : barley grain (grinded) in  proportions,  D1, 80:20; D2, 60:40 and D3 40:60 respectively.

Significant at the 5% level

Table 1 revealed that the chemical composition of both the feed ingredients (Khejri & Barley) and diets is quite different. The organic matter (OM) and crude protein (CP) contents were 89.50 and 14.97% in khejri leaves and 96.55 and 12.07% in barley grain. The OM and CP of diets were 90.85 and 13.54% in D1, 92.10 and 13.18% in D2 and 93.60, and 12.99% in D3.  Mann et al. (1980) and FFN (1991) reported slightly lower CP (14.34 and 13.8%) content in dry Khejri leaves. The neutral detergent fiber (NDF) and acid detergent fiber (ADF) contents were 39.31 and 29.27% in Khejri leaves and 27.02 and 5.82% in barley grain, 37.63 and 26.09% in D1, 33.70 and 20.25% in D2 and 32.20 and 15.08% in D3. The similar data in Khejri leaves were also reported by Pal et al. (2014) in respect to OM (88.8%), CP (13.4%), NDF (43.1%), ADF (28.2%), lignin (13.5%), hemicelluloses (14.9%), and cellulose (14.7%). The tannins (9.1%) was higher than reported by Bhatt et al (2007); Kumar and Vaithiyanathan, (1990). The composition of Barley grain was found to be in similar in respect to ADF (5.8%) but a lower CP (13.5%) and higher NDF (18.1%) was reported in present study in comparison with NRC, (1985).

Table 2: Growth performance and feed efficiency of goat kids during post- weaning period (90 days feeding)

Attributes Diets# SEm+ P- value
D1 D2 D3
Initial weight (kg) 9.50±3.350 9.34±1.720 10.20±2.261 0.474 0.75
Final weight (kg) 14.40±4.161 13.92±2.975 15.88±3.642 0.69 0.497
Total gain (kg) 3.45±0.961 3.08±1.069 3.93±1.199 0.211 0.27
Average daily gain (g/day) 38.39b±10.6 34.32c±11.882 43.70a±13.322 2.344 <0.001
Total feed  intake (kg) 53.02±1.632 50.97±0.430 51.46± 0.527 0.254 <0.001
Feed Efficiency ratio  (kg feed/ kg gain) 15.34±5.495 16.50±7.408 13.08±4.171 1.139 0.282

# Diets fed to kids contained Khejri (Prosopis cineraria) dry leaves: barley grain (grinded) in proportions, D1, 80:20; D2, 60:40 and D3 40:60 respectively; Significant at the 5% level

The growth performance and feed efficiency of kid presented in Table 2. The mean final body weight ranged from 13.92 (D2) to15.88 kg (D3) among the kids fed on three level of concentrate, which was not significantly different (P<0.05) in kids fed on high plane of concentrate compared to low and medium plan of concentrate. However, kids fed low, medium and high plane of concentrate had a non-significant difference in their final body weight, total gain and average daily gain. Total gain of 3.08 (D2), 3.45 (D1) and 3.93 kg (D3)  was found  in 90 days growth experiment and average daily gain (ADG) of 34.32 (D2), 38.39 (D1) and  43.70g / day (D3) was observed, which were also higher (P<0.05) in kid fed on high plane of concentrate (D3). Das and Ghosh (2001) and Assefu et al. (2012) reported that ADG increased significantly with the increasing levels of concentrate feed supplementation in kids and lambs. Yadav et al. (2009) reported higher live weight gain (9.12 kg) in kids supplemented with concentrates 150 g along with 10 g mineral mixture. Kharkar et al. (2014) was reported the body weights at birth, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months of age as 2.46, 9.22, 15.41, 18.33 and 22.64 kg in the male Berari goats. Nubian male goat kids had average daily gain between 56 and 80 g, and achieved live weights 7.78, 13.3, 17.4 and 22.4 kg respectively at 3, 6, 9 and 12 months of age (Gubartella et al., 2002).  The increase in concentrate levels have not shown significant improvement in final body weight (P<0.05), total gain (P<0.05) and ADG (P<0.05) of kids in present study.

Plan of nutrition affects the roughage and concentrate intake, while total feed intake remained similar among three levels of nutrition. During 90 days of growth experiment kid maintained at high plane of concentrate had low (P<0.05) roughage intake. Concentrate intake was significantly (P<0.05) different among three dietary levels. The roughage intake reduced while concentrate intake increased with increased levels of concentrate feeding. Das and Ghosh (2007) conducted an experiment and supplemented concentrate (maize 35%, mustard cake 32%, rice bran 30%, mineral mixture 2% and common salt 1%) at approximately 2% of BW. However, 25 and 50% of the concentrate was replaced with jackfruit leaves for groups II and III, respectively. ADG and DMI/kg gain were not adversely affected when the level of replacement was restricted to 25%; however, at the 50% of replacement both parameters were adversely affected (P < 0.05). Papi et al. (2011) concluded that the diets containing of alfalfa hay-to-concentrate ratios (DM basis) of 70:30, 50:50, 30:70 and 10:90, with metabolizable energy (ME) 9.12. 9.96, 10.67, and 11.34MJ/kg DM and crude protein (CP) 14.3,15.2,16.1 and 17.4% respectively have decreased dry matter intake and feed conversion ratio (FCR) linearly (P<0.001) as concentrate level increased in the diet. Dutt et al. (2009) was reported that kids fed high level of concentrate had Roughage: Concentrate (R: C) intake approximately 50:50, which recommended suitable to optimize growth of kids for better economic returns.

The feed consumption for per kg gain was significantly (P<0.05) high in kids fed 40% concentrate. Kids consumed 16.50 kg (D2) feed for each kg gain, while 15.34 (D1) and 13.08 kg (D3) feed was consumed for every kg of gain.  Feed efficiency of kids improved (P<0.05) with decreasing concentrate level (Table 2). Improved feed conversion efficiency (%) in Jamunapari kids was reported between complete feed (CP 12℅ and TDN 60℅) and total mix ration with varying level of energy and protein (Sing et al., 2010). Although, energy dense diets reduced intake during growing phase, however supplementation of high-energy diets improved growth and feed efficiency in lambs (Bhatt et al., 2011). Feeding of concentrates from 0.7 to 2.1% of live weight, the performance of growing lambs was improved linearly, whereas higher concentrate feeding reduced feed intake and improved feed conversion efficiency (Tripathi et al., 2007). The growth of kids in present study is within the reported range of variation for kids of early growing phase (Dutta et al., 2009; Dutta and Singh, 2009; Das and Ghosh, 2007). The body conformation parameters, viz. height, length, heart girth and punch girth were almost similar among the three groups of kid initially (Table 3). At the end of experimental period all parameters were higher (P<0.05) in D3 as compared to D1 and D2 kids except the body length which was higher in D1.

Table 3: Changes in body conformation (cm) of goat kids during post- weaning period (90 days feeding)

Attributes Diets# SEm+ P- value
D1 D2 D3
1. Height
Initial 49.00±4.632 49.58±2.328 49.66±2.701 0.626 0.901
Finishing 56.63±5.651 57.44±1.999 57.77±2.492 0.699 0.804
2. Length
Initial 40.80±3.712 41.191.451 40.91±1.166 0.444 0.939
Finishing 47.63±4.309 47.47±1.877 47.41±1.916 0.542 0.986
3.Heart girth
Initial 49.55±4.125 49.75±1.611 50.27±1.756 0.512 0.848
Finishing 57.94±5.338 56.91±2.616 58.72±2.964 0.723 0.612
4. Punch girth
Initial 52.50±5.154 52.50±2.165 54.44±2.732 0.688 0.428
Finishing 64.02±0.847 63.25±3.826 65.69±3.885 0.847 0.503

# Diets fed to kids contained Khejri (Prosopis cineraria) dry leaves: barley grain (grinded) in  proportions,  D1, 80:20; D2, 60:40 and D3 40:60 respectively; Significant at the 5% level

At finishing, the height, heart girth and punch girth were higher in D3 (57.77, 58.72 and 65.69 cm) followed by D1 (56.63, 57.94 and 64.02 cm) and D2 (57.44, 56.91 and 63.25cm) kids, whereas, the length was higher in D1 (47.63cm) followed by D2 (47.47 cm) and D3 (47.41cm) respectively. Mahmud et al. (2014) was reported the proper measurement of live body weight of the animals.  The values observed for body height, heart girth and punch girth at 3 month and 5 month of age in present study are almost similar to those observed in intensively fed Berari goats (Kharkar et al., 2014).The present value of body length is in agreement with the finding of Mondal et al. (2015) in indigenous sheep.


The growth pattern of kids is presented in Fig.1. The growth rate was relatively better in kids fed complete feed mixture (CFMs) having 60% of concentrate (D3) than 20% (D1) and 40% (D2).  The kids of D3 groups make a difference in body weight gain than the other groups during adaptation period, which was maintained up to end of the trail. The fortnightly changes in body height, length, heart girth and punch girth are presented in Figs. 2, 3, 4 and 5 respectively. Like body weight, the body conformation also increased with the advancement in age and was relatively higher in kids fed 60% concentrate than other groups. The increment in body weight in D1, D2 and D3 was not significant but dissimilar after 90 days of feeding experiment. The D1 kids showed lower (P<0.05) improvement in body height as compared to D2 and D3 kids. However, the height of D3 kids increased more rapidly (P<0.05) during 90 days of experimental period (Fig. 2). The body length was higher (P<0.01) in D2 kids (Fig. 3). The heart girth (Fig. 4) and punch girth (Fig. 5) of D3, D1 and D2 kids increased (P<0.05) progressively throughout the experimental period.

However, the D2 kids showed poor improvement in heart girth and punch girth during experimental period. Mondal et al. (2015) reported lower values for these traits in Changathangi X Non descript goats in Kargil. The present findings of height, heart girth and punch girth are similar to the finding of Kharkar et al. (2014) in Berari goats of native tract. The lower average values for heart girth and punch girth in Kilakarsal sheep was reported by Ravimurugan et al. (2013).

Table 4: Constants for predicting the body weight based on body conformations from birth to 150 days of age

Groups Regression coefficients



(Height, cm)


(Heart girth, cm)


(Length, cm)


(Paunch girth, cm)

R2 x 100 Level of significance
G1 -24.120+2.905 0.254 +0.180 0.127+0.229 -0.070 +0.177 0.344 +0.164 97.680 <0.001
G2 -27.134 +4.922 0.016 +0.083 0.037+0.178 0.145 +0.160 0.546+0.149 97.676 <0.001
G3 -52.402 +25.418 0.411 +0.341 0.858 +0.596 0.146 +0.552 -0.113 +0.393 73.811 <0.001
Overall -26.241+3.848 0.242+0.118 0.341+0.194 -0.137+0.138 0.246+0.133 84.477 <0.001

Significant at the 5% level

The constants for predicting the weight using body height, length, heart girth and punch girth are given Table 4. The group-wise regression coefficient (R2) values ranged from 73.81 (D3) to 97.68% (D1), where as the overall R2 was 84.47%. These regression coefficients for predicting the body weight using body conformations are comparable to those observed in intensively fed Malpura lambs (Chaturvedi et al., 2003). It is obvious from regression coefficient values that body height, length, heart girth and punch girth together can be used effectively for predicting the body weight. Further, the estimated values of body weight between groups are dissimilar to those observed values, and equation may be used for body weight calculation of intensively fed kids with 84.47% confidence. Ravimurugan et al. (2013) was also found R2=0.783 in Kilakarsal sheep.


It may be concluded that, inclusion of concentrate feeds up to 60% in the Khejari leaves based diet resulted in decreased total feed intake, improved plane of nutrition, average daily gain and feed conversion efficiency. The body confirmations were also improved. Analysis of regression coefficient values suggested that body height, length, heart girth and punch girth together can be used effectively for predicting the body weight with 84.47% confidence.


The authors are thankful to Dr. M. K. Tripathi and Dr. Ramkesh Meena for their support provided during chemical analysis at CIRG, Makhdoom Mathura UP.



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