Effect of phosphorus and calcium supplementation on goat performance communally grazed in a semi-arid area of RSA
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This research was conducted at the Molelwane Farm, in the Department of Animal Health, North West University, Mafikeng Campus, North West Province, RSA. Mafikeng city is located at 25°52’S and 25°38’E. In this study, a total number of 24 female goats, two years of age were purchased from local farmers around Mafikeng. The goats were randomly grouped into two groups of 12, the control and the supplemented groups, respectively. The supplemented group was fed dicalcium phosphate ad lib in the evenings for 12 months; from June 2011 to May 2012. Faecal, blood and grass samples were collected monthly, in addition to body mass of individual animals. Calcium (Ca), phosphorus (P) and magnesium (Mg) samples were analysed using the spectrophotometer. Results obtained showed that Ca and P supplements did not influence both faecal and serum P levels as compared to the untreated goats. However, Ca and P supplemented goats displayed more (P < 0.05) serum Ca and Mg concentrations indicating the significance of Ca and P supplements to grazing communal goats in this region. In addition, more body mass gain was noted in Ca and P supplemented goats as compared to non-supplemented goats throughout the trial period, again emphasizing regular P and Ca supplements to grazing goats in semi-arid areas.