An on-station feeding trial was conducted to determine the effects of Vachellia erioloba (VE) and Dichrostachys cinerea (DC) pod supplementation on intake, doe weight changes and growth of kids. Forty-two indigenous lactating does with average weight of 35 ± 0.5 kg from Parities 2 to 4 and grouped by ecotype (Caprivi and Ovambo) were allocated to a 2 x 3 factorial arrangement of treatments in a randomized complete block design with six does per treatment. The main factors were two pod types (VE, DC) at three feeding levels (20%, 40%, 60%), benchmarked against positive control (commercial feed (COM)) resulting in seven treatment diets. Phosphate salt lick and water were available ad libitum. Data were analysed as repeated measures using Proc Mixed (SAS, 2008). Voluntary feed intake (VFI) increased steadily for all treatments, peaking at about Week 5, followed by a drop, and then gradual stabilization in Weeks 7 to 12. Intake of does dropped drastically with VE60 and DC60 diets. Does in Parity 3 had significantly higher VFI than those in Parity 2, but there were no differences with Parity 4 does. Does in Parities 3 and 4 were significantly heavier than those in Parity 2. Doe weights declined from Week 1 to Week 8 and then increased gradually. Male kids were heavier than female kids (13.3 ± 0.2 vs. 10.5 ± 0.1 kg). The regression of kid weights on age (days) was 0.030 ± 0.012. Kids from does in Parities 3 and 4 had significantly higher weights than those from does in Parity 2. Single kids were heavier than twins (13.3 ± 0.2 vs.10.5 ± 0.1 kg). Kid weights from does supplemented with DC20 were similar to those receiving COM, VE20 and VE40, but kid weights of does supplemented with VE60, DC40 and DC60 were inferior to other treatments. Supplementing lactating goats with pod-based diets, particularly V. erioloba at 40%, may lead to increased VFI, reduced bodyweight loss in does and increased kid pre-weaning weights.
"Experientia docet" - Experience is the best teacher