The quest for meeting animal protein demand in the tropics using unconventional feed resources without compromising the quality led to this study. Hence, the study was conducted to assess the nutritional potentials of biodegraded rice husk treated with or without molasses and evaluate the response of West African Dwarf (WAD) goat-bucks fed the diets. Five experimental diets were formulated: Diet 1 â€“ control diet contained (0% molasses), Diet 2 (1% molasses), Diet 3 (2% molasses), Diet 4 (3% molasses) and Diet 5 (4% molasses) respectively; and were used as substrate in anaerobically fermented rice husk for 5days and fed to twenty-five (25) WAD bucks of five (5) replicates per treatment in a completely randomized design experiment for 84 days. Parameters assessed included; nutrients and anti-nutrients composition, feed intake, weight gain, nitrogen utilization, digestibility and feed conversion ratio. Results showed that, inclusion level of molasses significantly (P<0.05) influenced the dietary treatments. Dry matter (DM) contents ranged from 90.58% (Diet 5) to 92.91% (Diet 1). Crude protein (CP) content of the diets improved progressively with increased inclusion of molasses in the diets and Diet 5 had the highest CP content of 11.29%. However, crude fibre (CF) declined as CP increases; the least CF (26.51% CF) was recorded for Diet 5. The anti-nutrients contents were tolerable by goats and least values were recorded for Diet 5 (3.69% Alkaloid; 0.36% Oxalate; 16.48% Phytate; 3.15% Saponin and 0.05% Tannin) with exception of phenol. All the nutrient intake were significantly (P<0.05) influenced. Dry matter intake (DMI) varied from 452.47 g/day (Diet 1) to 466.86 g/day (Diet 5). Meanwhile, 57.69 g/day of crude protein intake (CPI) was recorded for bucks fed Diet 5 and gross energy intake (84.10 g/day) were highest in such diet. All the bucks digested their diets well but those fed Diet 5 recorded the highest values. Nitrogen intake was highest in bucksâ€™ fed Diet 5 (9.97 g/day) and thereby had the highest nitrogen retained (9.29 g/day). Bucks fed Diet 5 had the highest digestibility coefficient values recorded. The weight gain of bucks fed diet 5 was the highest (68.00 g/day) as (6.86) feed gain ratio was the lower value recorded for WAD bucks fed Diet 5. In conclusion, rice husk treated with molasses at 4% inclusion level improved its nutritional qualities; palatability and weight gain of WAD buck without any adverse effect on the animals.
Keywords: Molasses, Fermentation, Nutrient intake, Agro-industrial waste, Ruminant farmers.