Livestock Research for Rural Development 34 (1) 2022 LRRD Search LRRD Misssion Guide for preparation of papers LRRD Newsletter

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Growth of West African dwarf goats fed acacia leaves and increasing proportions of cassava pulp replacing cocoa pods

C O Raimi and A A Adeloye1

Department of Agricultural Technology, School of Agriculture and Agricultural Technology, Federal Polytechnic, Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria
1 Department of Animal Production, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria


Seven diets were formulated from mixtures of cocoa pod, cassava pulp and Acacia leaves and fed to twenty-eight West African Dwarf goats for 45 days in a completely randomized design. Feed treatments were increasing levels of cassava pulp (0-60%) replacing cocoa pods with occasional Acacia leaf as sources of protein. There were major improvements in feed intake (232.87-324.18g/d), live weight gain (16.64-31.77g/d) and in feed conversion (13.99-10.20) as the proportion of cassava pulp in the diets was increased. Conclusively, the combinations of cocoa pod, cassava pulp and Acacia Senegalia brevispica leaves up to the ratio of 20:40:40 levels (T3) did not cause any negative effect on the growth performance of the WAD goats.

Keywords: Acacia, Senegalia brevispica, leaves, cassava pulp, cocoa pod, growth, West African dwarf, goat


The productivity of farm animals in most tropical countries is generally low, mainly due to poor quality feeds which in most cases are in short supply. Moreover, conventional feed resources for animal production, such as cereal grains and oilseed meals, are scarce and expensive. Thus, the search for alternative unconventional feed sources is indispensable. For instance, feeding by-products from agricultural and food processing to livestock can be one of the solutions. The by-products from agricultural and food processing industries have been identified as possible alternative for livestock feeds (Zhou et al 2012).

In Africa, the livestock sector plays an important economic role and contributes to food security and livelihood of the people. Most sheep and goats in the rain-forest eco zone are held under the traditional free-range system of management and these animals subsist on poor and unimproved native pastures which do not even meet their nutritional requirements, let alone production (Alalade et al 2009). Within this region, the problem of seasonal variation in nutrient composition of pasture is also common; such that the productivity of animals becomes more acute especially during the dry periods of the year. This challenge results in progressive weight losses, retarded growth, late maturity/decreased reproductive performance, poor and uneven output and mortality which constitute economic losses to farmers (Anya 2012).

Several researchers have reported that goats lose weight even in the wet season, especially when continuous rain restricts grazing time which result in under-nutrition alternating with periods of nutritional adequacy and even feed surplus, with consequences on nutrient intake and performance (Anya et al 2013). In general, farmers feed their animals with crop residues and low-quality hay that are low in nitrogen, high in lignocellulose and deficient in vitamins and minerals, and these result in general decline of animal performance, poor meat quality and reduced milk yield (Gebregiorgis et al 2012).

A number of agriculture by-products have potential as alternative feeds due to their abundance and availabilities throughout the year. Unfortunately, agricultural by-products are usually characterized by low nutritional quality; occasioned by high fibre and low protein contents. Such characteristics often require that the by-products be treated, either physically or chemically prior to feeding to animals (Kim et al 2012). Cocoa pod husk which is an abundant residue generated on cocoa farmlands has been regarded as a “waste” in Nigeria, except for the negligible amount used in the manufacture of local soap. Studies using high inclusion levels of untreated cocoa pod in diets have resulted in lower digestibility and poor growth performance in animals confirming its low nutritional quality. In Nigeria, for example, cocoa pod and cassava pulp are regarded as wastes and they are usually left to rot away or burnt to create space for the accumulation of yet more waste heaps. The heaps emit carbon dioxide and produce a powerful offensive smell. In order to prevent environmental impacts arising from the huge waste streams generated during cocoa and cassava processing, it was suggested that various waste should be gathered and converted to useful products including fuel ethanol (Aro et al 2010).

Cassava pulp offers an alternative to high-starch grains and can be used as an energy source in ruminant diets. It comprised of 15.8–23.4% dry matte with 1.2–2.8% crude protein and 17.9–24.0% crude fiber (Lounglawan 2011).

The relative importance of browses in ruminant nutrition specifically during the dry season cannot be overemphasized. Acacia Senegalia brevispica is considered promising as the foliage, pods and seeds are readily eaten by goats.

This study was conducted to evaluate the performance of West African Dwarf (WAD) goats fed increasing amounts of cassava pulp replacing cocoa pods with Acacia Senegalia brevispica leaves as the source of protein.

We hypothesized that feeding WAD goats ensiled combinations of cocoa pod, cassava pulp and Acacia Senegalia brevispica leaves will enhance growth performance.

Materials and methods

Experimental site

The study was carried out at the Teaching and Research farm of the Department of Animal Science, Landmark University, Omu-Aran, Kwara State, Nigeria. It is situated 88 km south of llorin and 16 km North-East of Otun Ekiti, Ekiti state. It is located between latitude 8o 9N and longitude 5o 6E and is on approximate altitude of 582m above sea level (Landmark university, 2011). The rainy season begins at about the end of March and lasts until early September, while the dry season begins in early October and ends in early March. Temperature is uniformly high and ranges between 25o to 30oC in the wet season while in dry season it ranges between 33o to 34oC. Relative humidity at Omu Aran in the wet season is between 75 and 80% while in the dry season it is about 65%.

Experimental design

Twenty-eight West African dwarf goats (bucks), aged between 4 and 5 months with average body weight of 7.000.2kg was sourced from livestock market at Otun Ekiti, Nigeria. After 14 days of acclimatization the animals were allotted to seven dietary treatments (Table 1) in a completely randomized design with 4 animals per treatment in an intensive system of management.

Table 1. Formulation of the feeds prior to ensiling of combinations of cassava pulp, cocoa pod and acacia leaves (% as DM)

Cassava pulp, % DM basis








Cassava pulp








Cocoa pod








Acacia leaves








Photo 1. Cocoa pod husk Photo 2. Ground Cocoa pod

Photo 3. Cassava pulp wastePhoto 4. West African dwarf goat feeding on the silage
Experimental procedure

The experimental animals were kept in well ventilated pens (3m x 1.5m). The animals were dewormed by using a broad spectrum anthelmintic (Super Ivermectin), according to the body weight and sprayed with acaricide (Parannex) against external parasites. Ox-tetracycline (OTC) 20% was administered to all the goats to control Contagious Caprine Pleural pneumonia (CPPP) before onset of the experiment The goats were fed with experimental diets for forty-five days with cool, fresh drinkable water which was supplied ad libitum.

Feed and water were offered at the same time in the morning (08.00hr). The daily feed intakes were determined by deducting the refusals from the quantity previously offered. The feed and water were offered in the fodder basins and the remaining amounts from the previous day were measured to determine intake.

The goats were weighed before the commencement of the experiment (initial weight) and repeated weighed weekly in the morning before feeding to observe any weight change using spring balance (hanging scale).

The feeds were analyzed for chemical components AOAC (2005) method. ADF and ADL were determined according to Van Soest et al (1991).

Statistical analysis

The data obtained were subjected to standard methods of statistical analysis using Windows- based SPSS (Version 20.0, 2014). Response functions were estimated using polynomial regression analysis relating level of cassava pulp (X) with responses (Y) in feed intake, live weight gain and feed conversion.


Feed composition

Cassava pulp was low in protein and in fiber (Table 2). Cocoa pod had more crude protein but was high in fiber.

Table 2. Chemical composition of cocoa pod, cassava pulp and Acacia leaves (DM basis)

Composition (%)

Cassava pulp

Cocoa pod

Acacia leaf

































Growth performance

There were linear improvements in feed intake, live weight gain and feed conversion as the proportion of cassava pulp in the diet was increased (Table 3 Figures 1-3).

These positive results on growth performance of goats when cassava pulp was the basis of the diet are similar to those reported in Laos with local breed of “Yellow” cattle when ensiled cassava pulp was the major component of the diet (Phanthavong et al 2016, 2018).

Table 3. Growth performance of West African dwarf goats fed increasing levels of cassava pulp replacing cocoa pods

Cassava pulp, % DM basis









Final weight, kg









Gain, g/d









DM intake, g/d









Feed conversion









Figure 1. Effects of feeding level of cassava pulp on DM intake of WAD goats Figure 2. Effects of feeding level of cassava pulp on daily weight gain of WAD goats

Figure 3. Effects of feeding level of cassava pulp on feed conversion of WAD goats


Chemical composition (%) of the experimental ration fed to West African Dwarf goats with different levels of Cocoa pod and Cassava pulp, where Acacia leaves were added as complementary ingredients up to 100% was observed in this study. A crude protein content of 8.00 % for sundried cocoa pod husk meal (CPHM) (Esong et al 2015) was slightly lower than the value obtained in this study and higher than the values reported by Aregheore (2002) (6.20 %) and Adegunloye and Famolu (2016) (6.11 %). Some studies (Mercel et al 2011) have indicated cocoa pod to produce feed with protein in a value higher than (13.90%) obtained in this study.

The crude protein content of the diets in this study was more than the minimum of 8% (Norton, 2003) necessary to provide the minimum ammonia levels required by rumen microorganisms for optimum activity. Gratemby (2002) also indicated 10–13% CP as moderate level required to satisfy the maintenance requirement of ruminant animals. Hence feed made from cocoa pod, cassava pulp and Acacia forage as done in this study could provide nitrogen in adequate amount for rumen microbes to digest the feed. The protein in cassava pulp (3.0%) is in agreement with Yimmongkol (2009) who reported 1.2-3.0%. Cocoa pod (13.90%) was within the recommendation of 9.00-14.00% for growing buck 3.00% recommended by kids (Kieser, 2012). The CP contents in cassava pulp (3.0%) and cocoa pod (13.90%) in this study adequately meet the NRC (2007) protein requirement for ruminant animals for growth. The crude fibre content (25.67%) in this study confirmed the finding of Adegunloye and Famolu (2016) that cocoa pod is rich in fibre. The values obtained for ash content (0.85%) corroborates the findings of Apichai (2015) who reported 1.87% ash content for cassava pulp.

Goats on combinations of 0% cocoa pod, 60% cassava pulp and 40% acacia leaf to combinations of 20% cocoa pod, 40% cassava pulp and 40% acacia leaf consumed the feed more than those on combinations of 30% cocoa pod, 30% cassava pulp and 40% acacia leaf to 60% cocoa pod, 0% cassava pulp and 40% acacia leaf. However, total intake tended to improve with increasing levels of cassava pulp in the diets. Increased levels of cassava pulp in the diets relatively increased the crude protein content and perhaps the palatability, this might very well explain the relatively high intake observed in favour of the increased cassava pulp diets over increased cocoa pod diets. In a previous study, Ahamefule (2005) observed the same trend with cassava peel-based diets containing pigeon pea seed meal. Ososanya (2010) indicated that feed intake is an important factor in the utilization of feed by ruminant livestock and a critical determinant of energy intake and performance in small ruminants. Total feed intake (TFI) decreased significantly (p<0.05) as the inclusion levels of cocoa pod increased with decrease in cassava pulp levels in the diets.

Decrease in feed intake from combinations of 30% cocoa pod, 30% cassava pulp and 40% acacia leaf to combinations of 60% cocoa pod, 0% cassava pulp and 40% acacia leaf could be attributed to the decrease in acceptability of the feeds. This agreed with the report of Aderolu et al (2007) who reported decrease in feed intake by ruminant livestock have been found to depend on unacceptability and physical characteristics of the feed. Toxicity occasioned by theobromine content of the cocoa pod is strongly suggested as reason for reduced intake of feed in this study. Reduced feed intakes have also been reported as an index of feed characteristics and quality by Ahamefule (2005), Ukpabi (2007) and Jokthan et al (2010) who observed that the nature of feeds plays an important role in determining the average daily feed intake in livestock. Likewise, average daily weight gain was higher (p<0.05) in goats on feeds with (%) 0-20 inclusion of Cocoa pod compared with other groups and implies that nutrient utilization was more efficient in goats fed CP0 to CP20.

The recorded values in this study were within the average daily weight gain value (26.56g) for goats as reported by Omotoso et al (2018). Final body weight values (7.15-8.36kg) in goats on combinations of 0% cocoa pod, 60% cassava pulp and 40% acacia leaf to combinations of 20% cocoa pod, 40% cassava pulp and 40% acacia leaf indicated proper feed utilization in line with the opinions of Fadi et al (2010). The feed conversion ratio values (12.52-18.88) obtained in this study was higher than 2.63-4.00 reported by Okorie (2003). In general, poor Feed Conversion Ratio obtained on combinations of 30% cocoa pod, 30% cassava pulp and 40% acacia leaf to combinations of 60% cocoa pod, 0% cassava pulp and 40% acacia leaf may be due to the relatively poor growth rates and feed intakes.



This research is part of the requirement for the PhD of the author in the doctoral program of University of Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria. Financial support from the TETFUND project, Federal Polytechnic, Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria, is gratefully acknowledged.


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