Feeding protein is important for milk production in lactating animals. Unavailability of proteinous feeds in Botswana negatively affects dairy goat production. Dairy goat farmers utilise lucerne (Medicago sativa) and hyacinth bean (Lablab purpureus) forages because of their availability. This study was conducted to determine the effects of feeding lucerne and hyacinth bean rations on dry matter intake, milk production and milk composition of lactating Saanen goats managed under intensive system. Twenty-eight lactating Saanen goats were randomly allocated to two rations; (45.65% lucerne hay mixed with 54.35% commercial concentrate) and (38.82% lablab hay + 6.67% sunflower cake mixed with 54.51% commercial concentrate) and fed individually. The study was conducted at Botswana College of Agriculture farm from December 2012 to March 2013. All goats were hand-milked. Dry matter intake, milk yield and milk composition were analyzed using General Linear Model procedures in Statistical Analysis System. Goats that were fed lucerne ration had significantly higher dry matter intake (2.43 vs 2.25kg/d) and milk yield (2.45 vs 2.27kg/d) than goats fed hyacinth bean ration. Moreover, goats fed lucerne ration produced significantly higher 4% FCM (2.10 vs 1.89%), fat percentage (3.18 vs 2.99%), protein percentage (2.89 vs 2.77%), and fat efficiency (0.89 vs 0.86) than goats fed hyacinth bean ration. Fat, protein and lactose yields, lactose percentage, energy corrected milk and energy efficiency was not influenced by the rations. Feeding lucerne ration had promoted higher dry matter intake, milk production and fat and protein percentages. Therefore, local dairy goat farmers should be encouraged to feed lucerne ration mixed with commercial concentrate in 50:50 ratio as it has shown to be utilized effectively for milk production when compared to lablab ration.
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