Feeding behaviour and diet selection by West African Dwarf Goats (short communication)
Abstract. Sixteen West African Dwarf Goats (WADG) were used to study the feeding behaviour and diet selection. The animals were offered freshly cut stems with leaves and fruiting bodies of Gliricidia sepium, Leucaena leueoeephala and Panicum maximum. The feeding behaviour of the goats was observed and recorded whilst the preference of the animals for each diet was also monitored. Data were collected on feed intake, number of bites per minutes, and preference for each of the forages. The data on feed intake were subjeeted to one-way analysis of variance. Within 30 minutes into the feeding period, it was observed that the goats concentrated on Leucaena leueoeephala which they stmggled over for favoured positions leading to horn locking. The animals first smelt the different plants took a bite before concentrating on a particular forage. The animals usually consumed fruiting bodies and leaves of leucaena before eating the other two forages. The mean number of bites per goat per minute was 10, 8 and 6 for gliricidia, leucaena and panicum respectively. The animals exhibited bi-pedal stance during feeding.
Analysis of variance showed forage intake to be significantly different (P < 0.05) among the forages. Proximate analysis of the three forages indicated that leucaena had a higher quantity of dry matter (DM), crude protein (CP) and ether extract. (EE) compared to the other two forages, while panicum had higher CF, lower CP, ash and EE content compared to gliricidia and leucaena.