Indehiscent fruits of six tree species, common in Matabeleland were examined in in vitro and in vivo trials. The results for two of them, Acacia nilotica and Dichrostachys cinerea are presented here. Acacia nilotica contained more total phenolics than D. cinerea, but less nitrogen (N) and fibre (ADF and NDF). After 48h incubation, in vitro OMD of both species was increased by PEG and NaOH or wood ash treatment, except when NaOH or wood ash were used in combination with PEG with D. cinerea fruits. DM intake, DMD were lowest and N-retention negative in goats fed A. nilotica as supplement. However when fed a supplement of D. cinerea, untreated or treated with PEG or NaOH, digestibility and N-retention were highest, and similar to a commercial goat meal, with the untreated fruit. In a trial in which milking does were supplemented with D. cinerea fruits, for 65 before and 65 days after kidding, kid birthweight and weaning weight were increased by supplementation. Deaths of twin-born kids were lowest in the supplemented but unmilked group. Supplementation with D. cinerea fruit resulted in improved goat performance. The only treatment applied of practical significance, wood ash, is currently being tested in an in vivo study. More research is required on detoxification of tannins, especially with A. nilotica.
Animal Feed Science and Technology (2005) 122 (1) 149-157. [doi:10.1016/j.anifeedsci.2005.04.004]