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Field activities and blood profile of pregnant South African indigenous goats after receiving dihydroxy pyridone-degrading rumen bacteria and grazing Leucaena leucocephala-grass or natural pastures

  • A. A. AKINGBADE (a1), I. V. NSAHLAI (a1), C. D. MORRIS (a2) and P. A. IJI (a1)


Twenty-four multiparous female South African indigenous goats were used. Once a week during the 2nd (weeks 8, 11 and 14) and 3rd (weeks 18, 19 and 20) trimesters, between 08·00 and 15·00 h, four females per treatment were randomly selected and observed every 1 min for time spent grazing, browsing, ruminating and idling. Blood samples were taken once a week during the 2nd (weeks 8, 11 and 14) and 3rd (weeks 18, 19, 20 and 21) trimesters for measurements of some mineral elements and protein metabolites. Goats on natural pasture (NP) grazed 54·8 min (P<0·001) more and browsed 53 min (P<0·001) less than goats on Leucaena leucocephala-grass pasture (LGP) during the 2nd trimester. During the 3rd trimester, goats on NP treatments grazed and idled more (24·7 min, P = 0·004; 15·8 min, P = 0·044, respectively) but ruminated less (−24·1 min, P<0·001) than LGP goats. Time allotted to each field activity by the goats on both treatments within trimester seemed to be dependent on forage species composition while activity between trimesters was possibly influenced by seasons, plant type, herbage quantity, environment and quality, and changes in stage of gestation of the goats. Blood Mg level on NP was higher (P = 0·051) than on LGP during the 2nd trimester while blood Cu and albumin contents on LGP were significantly higher (P = 0·029 and 0·022, respectively) than on NP during the 3rd trimester. Furthermore, blood concentrations of the haematological parameters (except serum protein) on both treatments were within the normal range for goats in the tropics and subtropics and perhaps explain the absence of mineral and nutrient deficiency symptoms. The absence of visible symptoms of mineral deficiency and mimosine toxicity in LGP goats can be attributed to the transfer of DHP-degrading rumen bacteria. The bacteria effectively detoxified mimosine and its metabolites, thereby overcoming chelating tendency of mimosine and its metabolites. Mimosine-susceptible pregnant SAIG can be safely grazed on LGP once their rumen is completely colonized by the DHP-degrading rumen bacteria (Synergistes jonesii).


Corresponding author

To whom all correspondence should be addressed. Discipline of Animal and Poultry Science, University of Natal, Private Bag X01, Scottsville, Pietermaritzburg 3209, South Africa. Email:


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