Open Access

Fennel and Ginger Improved Nutrient Digestibility and Milk Yield and Quality in Early Lactating Egyptian Buffaloes


The supplementation with herbal and medicinal plants to animals showed positive effects on feed digestion, performance and animal’s health. Fifteen multiparous Egyptian buffaloes (537 ± 18.1 kg body weight), 7 days after parturition, were randomly assigned to 3 treatments in a quintupled 3 × 3 Latin square design in a 63-day experiment. Each experimental period lasted 21 days (15 days of adaptation + 7 days for measurements and samples collection). Buffaloes were assigned according to their previous milk production, weight and parity to study the effect of fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) or ginger (Zingiber officinale) supplementation on feed utilization and lactational performance. Buffaloes were fed a basal diet of concentrates, berseem clover and rice straw in a ratio of 60:30:10 dry matter (DM) basis. The first group was fed the basal diet with no additive as the control treatment, while other buffaloes were fed on the basal diet supplemented with 75 g fennel or ginger/buffalo daily. Additives supplementation did not affect feed intake; however, fennel followed by ginger improved (P<0.05) dry matter, organic matter, crude protein and neutral detergent fiber digestibilities compared to the control. Without affecting blood chemistry, fennel and ginger supplementation improved (P<0.05) production of milk and energy corrected milk, fat concentration and milk energy content and output. Fennel followed by ginger decreased the somatic cell count (P=0.035) compared with the control. Fennel and ginger improved feed efficiency (P<0.05) compared with the control. Fennel increased the proportion of milk trans-10, cis-12 C18:2 (P=0.028), total conjugated linoleic acid without affecting other fatty acids. It is concluded that fennel or ginger at 75 g/buffalo/d improved nutrient digestibility and milk production of lactating buffaloes. Fennel improved milk nutritive value more than ginger.

Publication timeframe:
4 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Life Sciences, Biotechnology, Zoology, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine