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In an experiment conducted in the sheds of the Animal Nutrition Division of the Indian Veterinary Research Institute in 1988/89, eight adult Black Bengal goats were divided into two groups of four animals each. Animals in the control group were offered a conventional diet (concentrate and available roughage as per National Research Council standards) and those in the experimental group were fed exclusively on fresh leucaena foliage (young and newly developed leaves and shoots) for 300 days. Dry matter intake (DMI) and body weight of animals in the experimental group decreased in the first 6 weeks; daily DMI/lOOkg body weight was 306 ± 0·34kg in the control group and 2·40 ± 0·18 kg in the experimental group.
There were significant differences in the apparent digestibilities of crude protein and nitrogen-free extractives; contents of digestible crude protein (DCP) and total digestible nutrients were 5·2 and 20·3%, respectively, in the controls and 65·6 and 59·1 %, respectively, in the experimental group. DCP intake was significantly higher in the experimental group as a result of high protein content in foliage but it was not well utilized.
In the control and experimental groups, respectively, daily mean retention of nitrogen was 2·01±0·14 and 1·54±0·12 g/day, of calcium 1·60±0·08 and 2·92±1·69 g/day, and of phosphorus 1·12±0·25 and 0·24±0·07 g/day, the phosphorus balance being significantly lower in the experimental group. Blood calcium and serum glutamate oxaloacetate transaminase/serum glutamate pyruvate transaminase concentrations were statistically similar in both groups but the concentration of inorganic P was significantly lower in the blood of animals fed leucaena.