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This study was carried out to evaluate the growth performance and nutrient digestibility of
dromedary camel fed diets containing varying levels of dried Faidherbia albida (F. Albida)
leaves. Four male camels weighing on average 228.51kg were randomly allocated to 4 diets
containing 0, 10, 20 and 30% dried F. Albida leaves in a 4x4 Latin Square Design. The
results obtained showed that there were significant (P<0.05) effect of diets on the camels.
The final weight of camels fed diets containing 20 and 30% levels of inclusion of dried F.
Albida leaves were at par (255 vs 252kg). However, the total weight gain, average daily
weight gain (ADWG) and feed conversion ratio were significantly higher (P<0.05) in
camels fed 20% inclusion level of dried F. albida leaves compared with other diets. Dry
matter intake and nitrogen free extract were significantly higher (P<0.05) in camels fed 20
and 30% levels of inclusion of dried F. albida leaves. The crude protein digestibility was
higher (P<0.05) in camels fed 20% levels of dried F. albida leaves. However, the nitrogen
retention of the camels was 22% higher (P<0.05) in the control diet than those fed diet
containing 30% inclusion level of dried F. albida leaves. Total protein, albumin and
creatinine levels were higher (P<0.05) in camels fed 20% inclusion levels of dried F. albida
leaves. However, glucose and sodium levels were at par (P<0.05) between the control
treatment and camels fed 20% dried F. albida leaves. Camels fed 30% inclusion level of
dried F. albida leaves had higher (P<0.05) values of blood parameters except in
lymphocytes and basophils. All blood and biochemical parameters are within the normal
range. Water retention per day was significantly higher (P<0.05) in camels fed diets
containing dried F. albida leaves compared to the control. In conclusion, dried F. albida
leaves can be included in the diets of camels up to 30% without detrimental effect on growth
performance and health of camels in the northern guinea savannah of Nigeria.
There has been a trend of growing numbers of camels in the world between 2001 and 2011
(FAO, 2013). This increase might be attributed to changing of environment form the
savannah to arid and semi-arid condition, development in camel farming, and an improved
ecological image of camel farming and products. The total camelids population in the world
in 2013 was estimated at around 25 million animals. This number is probably
underestimated because camels are migrant animals. It is difficult to conduct a census for
camels such as the wild Australian camel population. The general estimate of the camel
world population may probably be around 30 million head (Faye, 2013). About 88% of the
camels are found in Africa, while Asia has 12%. The main concentration of dromedary
camels in Africa is in the East African countries with 80% of the total camel population
raised under various production systems.
The most important countries with a camel population of more than 1 million are Somalia,
Sudan, Ethiopia, Niger, Mauritania, Chad, and Kenya. A significant proportion (71% of
total world camels) of the world camel population is found in countries defined by FAO as
Net Food Importing Developing Countries, Low Income Food Deficit Countries hold 68%
of total world camels and Least Developed Countries had 59% of total world camels (Kadim
et. al., 2014). Nigeria in particular has about 28,000 camels (NASS, 2011) which are
concentrated in the Sahelian region of the North western part of Nigeria (FDCPLS, 1992).
The dromedary camels adopted themselves to the ecosystem of dry and hot zone where they
are subjected to hash condition in addition to severe fluctuation in the nutritional status,
which in turn affect their general performance (Wardeh, 2004). The camel possesses unique
features which make it superior to other domestic animals in the hot and arid desert
ecosystem. This is reinforced by the ability of the camel to traverse considerable distance
with much less effort than other species. Camel physiology and special features are
therefore not only of scientific inter
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