The productivity of indigenous goats in Africa is constrained by shortage of protein25 rich feed especially in winter. This study investigated the nutritional value of mucuna forage (MF) and seed meal (MSM) as alternative protein sources for indigenous goats. Mucuna was planted in 3 parallel and adjacent fields and its foliage nutritional composition determined at 4, 8, 12 and 16 weeks after planting (WAP). MF was harvested at 14 WAP whilst mucuna pods were harvested at 28 – 30 WAP, shelled and the MSM chemically analysed. In a completely randomised design (CRD), 20 indigenous goats were randomly offered 5 treatment diets with, respectively, 0%, 25%, 50% and 100% MF and 100% MSM replacing broiler litter (BL), each with 4 replicates, for 82 days. Both mucuna foliage DM and CF contents increased (P <0.001) whilst foliage CP, EE and ash contents decreased (P<0.001) with maturity. On the other hand, MSM contained high DM (90.7%), EE (3.7% DM) and CP (26.0% DM) but low CF (9.7% DM) and ash (5.5% DM) contents. Both body weight gain (BWG) and feed conversion efficiency (FCE) were not influenced by dietary mucuna incorporation (P > 0.05). However, dietary MF, particularly at the 100% level, decreased goat feed intake (FI) (P < 0.001) whilst 100% MSM increased (P < 0.001) this parameter. Mucuna had no effect on all carcass characteristics (P > 0.05) but increased (P < 0.05), particularly at the 100% MSM level, hot carcass weight and dressing percentage. There were no effects of mucuna on all biochemical and haematological indices (P > 0.05), except for the increase in serum glucose (P <0.05). In conclusion, the optimal stage for harvesting and utilisation of MF is between 12 and 16 WAP and both MF and MSM, particularly the latter, are rich alternative protein sources for indigenous goats.
Mucuna pruriens forage and seed meal, nutritional composition, performance, biochemical and physiological indices, indigenous goats.