Plant Selection and Performance of Two Cattle Types and Camels on Semiarid Rangelands in Kenya uri icon

abstract

  • Plant selection pattern and performance of lactating cattle and camels were compared on semiarid savanna rangelands in Kenya in the rainy season (RS) and a transition period (TP) between the RS and the main dry season. It was further evaluated whether supplementation with rumen-degradable protein (RDP) had an effect on these parameters. In both seasons, two cattle types (local 'Pokot' cattle and Guernsey x Boran crossbreds) and camels were used, with six females per treatment group (supplemented and nonsupplemented) each (n = 72 animals in total). The experimental periods consisted of 8-10 d of adaptation and 36-40 d of data and sample collection. The diet selected by the cattle types was similar and consisted almost exclusively of grasses. The camel diet consisted mainly of herbs and shrubs with higher contributions of woody plants in the TP than in the RS. Forage from woody plants overall made up a higher proportion of the diet, which was also reflected by a longer browsing time (overall and in the TP) of the supplemented camels compared with the nonsupplemented camels. This result indicates that supplementation of browsers like camels with RDP can be used to increase the intake of forage from woody plants rich in plant secondary compounds, which could be an effective measure for managing rangeland to limit bush encroachment. Overall, no seasonal differences in milk yield were found for the camels and Pokot cattle, but crossbreds had a lower yield in the TP compared with the RS. Overall, the cattle had higher milk fat content than the camels while the camels had slightly higher protein content. Supplementation had no effect on milk yield and composition. The results of diet selection and performance (milk yield) reflect the advantage of camels in arid rangelands. (C) 2018 The Society for Range Management. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • 2018
  • 2018