Determination of Tannin Levels in Multi-purpose Kenya Trees and Fodder Crops, their Variation and Effect on Protein Digestibility in Ruminants

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John Nduati Ngugi Kang'ara
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John Nduati Ngugi Kang'ara
Energy and protein are the major limiting nutrients in dairy production on the small scale mixed farms in Kenya. Commercial feed supplements are expensive and therefore multipurpose fodder trees (MPT) and forage crops are advocated· as the alternative supplements, because they are inexpensive, able to provide green forage even in dry season and have high protein content. These trees have tannins whose levels, seasonal and altitude distribution have not been established. Previous studies have indicated that tannins may have either beneficial effects like bloat control and increased protein bypass, or deleterious effects like the reduction feed intake and digestibility of protein in animals fed on tanniferous feed. The objectives of this study were to determine the tannin levels in the MPT, as influenced by altitude and season, and the effect of these tannins on ruminal degradation and intestinal digestion of the diet.