Foliage of Albizia lebbeck (L.) Benth for feeding pigs. 1. Indices of consumption pattern and productive behavior

S. Mireles1, 2; J. Ly1, 2; Y. Caro2; F. Grageola3*

1. Universidad de Guadajara, Centro Universitario de Ciencias Biológicas y Agropecuarias (CUCBA). Camino del Astillero, Zapopan, Jalisco, México., Universidad de Guadalajara, Universidad de Guadajara, Centro Universitario de Ciencias Biológicas y Agropecuarias,

, Mexico , 2. Instituto de Ciencia Animal. Apartado No. 24, San José de las Lajas. Cuba., Instituto de Ciencia Animal, Instituto de Ciencia Animal,
<city>San José de las Lajas</city>
, Cuba ,
3. Universidad Autónoma de Nayarit, Unidad Académica de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia. Compostela, Nayarit, México., Universidad Autónoma de Nayarit, Universidad Autónoma de Nayarit, Unidad Académica de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia,
, Mexico

Correspondence: *. Corresponding Author: Fernando, Grageola Núñez. Unidad Académica de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia. Universidad Autónoma de Nayarit. Compostela, Nayarit, México. Phone: +52 311 141 5133. E-mail: E-mail: .


Acceptability indexes and food consumption pattern were measured in diets of type B sugarcane molasses and soybean meal, made with variable levels (0, 5, 10 and 15 %) of Albizia lebbeck (L.) Benth foliage meal, were offered in a completely randomized way to 32 pigs of 30 kg live weight. When treatments were compared with each other, some depression in acceptability with the 15 % diet of albizia was found (p = 0.039). The speed of intake and meal size decreased as the inclusion of albizia foliage increased (p < 0.01). Visits to the feeder (p = 0.007) and time eating increased (p = 0.001) as the meal content of this foliage in the feed increased. It is suggested that albizia foliage meal does not appear to contain substances that inhibit voluntary feed intake, at least in diets with sugar cane molasses, which may determine substantial changes in the acceptability and pattern of feed consumption of pigs.

Received: 2020 February 11; Accepted: 2020 August 19

revbio. 2020 Sep 15; 7: e940
doi: 10.15741/revbio.07.e940

Keywords: KEY WORDS: Pig, tree foliage, voluntary feed intake, sugar cane molasses.


It is recognized that the feeding behavior measured in pig cattle, may indicate the degree of acceptance of a new food resource by the animals, measured by individual preferences, or to detect the presence of toxic substances in that material (Ly, 1979; Belmar & Morris, 1994). The feedstuff acceptability can be defined as voluntary intake by the animals without being forced or limited by the handling and production conditions they face, this has been linked to hedonic signals to control food intake affecting the food consumption pattern in animals (Rentería & Shimada, 2018). On the other hand, fibrous feedstuffs, such as those of arboreal origin, which are locally available in the tropics (Bindelle et al., 2008; Martens et al., 2012), allow to establish useful interdependences between traits of the feed intake pattern and zootechnics of economic interest (Kanengoni et al., 2015). In this sense, such tree materials could be present in diets where the energy source, such as sugar cane molasses, are poor in proteins and do not contain a fibrous component of quantitative importance (Preston & Murgueitio, 1992).

Albizia lebbeck (L.) is considered an economically important plant, since it has a high potential to be used as a source of protein (17-26 %) and mineral supplement (7.84 %) for animals. In addition, numerous therapeutic proprieties are attributed to it (Mishra et al., 2010; Ly et al., 2018). In the particular case of Albizia lebbeck (L.) Benth, knowing its potential as supplier of foliage for pigs in the cut and hauling strategy could be useful. This idea arises from the knowledge of its dasonomy already acquired, which qualifies this legume as a species which can grow with good foliar biomass yield in tropical semiarid regions of the planet and promote its use in tropical pig farming, having the knowledge of consumption and acceptability, since it is considered that there is a high correlation between daily weight gain and voluntary intake of feed.

The aim of this work was to report an experimental sequence where acceptability and pattern of feed consumption were determined in young pigs fed with sugar cane molasses diets, formulated to contain variable levels of albizia foliage meal, which could be an alternative to pig feeding without limiting its productivity.

Material and Methods

A total of 32 Yorkshire x Landrace x Duroc castrated male pigs of 30 kg live weight were used, completely randomly distributed in four treatments consisting in diets formulated to meet the requirements of the National Research Council [NRC], (1998) with a proportion of type B sugar cane molasses/soybean meal (67.6/30.4, dry basis) in which 0, 5, 10 and 15 % was substituted by albizia (Albizia lebbeck (L.) Benth) foliage meal. The characteristics of the diets are shown in Table 1. The origin of the foliage, its collection as well as the preparation of the foliage meal were already described by Ly et al. (2019). In summary, the albizia foliage came from an uncultivated plantation, located in the northwest of Havana province, Cuba. This foliage was made from the terminal branches of young trees (5 years). The foliage meal was produced after drying the material in the sun for a period of 5 days and it was subsequently milled in a hammer mill provided with a screen 1µ. This foliage meal had on average 20 and 35 % of crude protein and cell wall, on dry basis, respectively. Those data concerning the chemical composition of albizia foliage are not far from others related to that arboreal legume (Leterme & Buldgen, 2007; Chitra & Balasubramanian, 2016).

Table 1.

Composition of diets with inclusion of albizia (Albizia lebbekc (L.) Benth) for growing pigs (per cent in dry basis)

Albizia foliage meal, %
- 5 10 15
Sugar cane molases type B 67.60 64.22 60.84 57.46
Soybean meal 30.40 28.88 27.36 25.84
Albizia foliage meal - 5.00 10.00 15.00
CaPO4H.2H2O 0.50 0.48 0.45 0.42
NaCl 0.50 0.48 0.45 0.42
Vitamins y minerals1 1,00 0.94 0.90 0.86
Analysis DM 85.50 85.85 86.19 86.53
Ash 4.65 4.87 5.10 5.32
Organic matter 95.35 95.13 94.90 94.68
Crude fibre 2.26 3.66 5.04 6.44
ADF 2.11 3.62 5.11 6.61
NDF 2.83 4.85 7.07 9.19
Crude protein (Nx6.25) 16.20 17.13 17.55 17.98
Gross energy, kJoule/g DM 16.50 16.49 16.48 16.48
Water retention, g/g DM3 1.55 1.67 1.80 1.92

TFN1Content (per kg): vitamin A, 600 IU; vitamin D3, 160 IU; vitamin E, 10 mg; vitamin B1, 2 mg; vitamin B2, 3 mg; vitamin B6, 15 mg; vitamin B12, 0.025 mg; panthotenic acid, 5 mg; choline chloride, 300 mg; menadione sodium bisulphate, 2 mg; folic acid, 0.5 mg; cobalt, 0.4 mg; iron, 10 mg; iodine, 0.5 mg.


TFN2Determined by centrifugation (Kyriazakis & Emmans, 1999).

The DM (Dry Matter), nutrients and energy content in albizia foliage as well as those of the diets was determined in representative samples according to recognized procedures (AOAC, 2016).

The animals were housed in individual corrals with cement floor provided with a feeder and a drinking trough, in an open stable without side walls. The property belonged to an experimental farm located in the northwest of Havana province, Cuba. During the experimental period the average temperature was 25 °C.

Throughout the experiment, water and feed consumption was ad libitum. In the first week, the individuals gradually changed from a conventional diet of maize meal/soybean meal, to that of type B sugar cane molasses/soybean meal. On the first day of the third week, the acceptability of the four diets containing albizia foliage meal was determined using a modification of the short-term feed intake test of Belmar & Morris (1994). On the first day of the fourth week, the pattern of feed intake was measured according to the procedure of Faliu & Griess (1969), described by Ly et al. (1994). Briefly, the animals were observed for 60 minutes continuously and directly by four observers who recorded the feeding behavior of the animals every minute. The observations were made from 9:00 am, after serving ad libitum the previously weighed feed. The recording of feeding behavior was carried out by trained personnel who were familiarized with the examined animals. At the end of the 60 minutes, the food residue was weighed. Between the third and seventh week, the feed intake was recorded daily and pigs were weighed weekly to measure behavioral traits.

The data were manipulated according to a one-way classification (Steel et al., 1997). When the contrast of means was significant (p < 0.05), the separation was carried out by means of the Tukey test. An appropriate statistical software (Minitab, 2014) was utilized for the entire statistical evaluation.

Results and Discussion


The indexes of acceptability of the evaluated diets are shown in Table 2.

Table 2.

Acceptability by growing pigs of diets containing albizia (Albizia lebbeck (L.) Benth foliage meal.

- 5 10 15 SE ± P
n 8 8 8 8 - -
DM in feed, % 85.50 85.85 86.19 86.53 - -
Feed offered, kg DM/day1 1.440 1.440 1.440 1.440 - -
Feed consumption, kg DM/day2 1.373a 1.367a 1.363ab 1.328b 0.032 0.039
Consumption, % offered diet3 100.0a 99.1a 98.8ab 96.6b 0.100 0.050

TFN3According to a standard feeding scale (IIP, 2015)


TFN4Linear response: y = 1.378 - 0.003 x (Syx ± 0.030, R2, 0.257; p = 0.002)


TFN5Linear response: y = 100.00 - 0.20 x (Syx ± 0.61, R2, 0.996; p = 0.001)


TFN6 Means without letter in common in the same row are significantly (p < 0.05) different among them.

Overall, feed intake was high in all animals in relation to the amount of food ingested by the individuals of this species and it apparently there was no notorious feed refuse nor uncomfortable sign in the pigs. Daily feed intake recorded the days before and after the acceptability test with the offering of the new feed was 1.400 and 1.403 kg DM/day (SE, ± 0.030; p = 0.855). Nevertheless, from the point of view of acceptance of the unknown diet, when all treatments were compared among each other, some decrease of acceptability of the diet containing 15 % albizia foliage meal (p = 0.039) was found. Moreover, a linear response was observed (r, 0.996; p = 0.001) when interdependence between the feed consumed, expressed in per cent, and the percentage of albizia foliage meal in the diet was observed.

It is probable that the response found could suggest that the albizia foliage meal would not contain enough secondary metabolites such as saponins (Mishra et al., 2010) or other metabolites (polyphenols, tannins and antitriptyc factors) in such amounts so as to inhibit the voluntary feed intake of the pigs, when this foliage meal constituted up 15 % of the ration. In this regard, Belmar & Morris (1994) showed in their acceptability studies that the pigs completely rejected diets prepared with canavalia beans meal, rich in anti-nutritional factors and known to totally inhibit the consumption of feed by animals.

There is no evidence on the effect of anti-nutritional factors of Albizia lebbeck in young pigs. Perhaps it could be possible that the inclusion of high levels of sugar cane molasses in the diet could decrease or neutralize animals refusing to eat the totality the evaluated rations. In this sense, Díaz et al. (2005) found that the aversion to at Gliricidia sepium foliage meal can be avoided if the energy source of the ration is sugar cane molasses. There was an agreement in this result with others where the acceptability of a maize meal/soybean meal was measured when 10 % of the diet was substituted for foliage meal of this tree legume (Ly et al., 2019).

Furthermore, probably with 15 % of gliricidia foliage meal in the ration, some of its physicochemical properties should be exerting a negative influence on the voluntary feed intake, which appears to be characteristic to occur in pigs (Bakare et al., 2013, 2014; Kanengoni et al., 2015), due to the importance of the fibrous fraction in arboreal alimentary resources.

Pattern of feed intake

Data corresponding to the pattern of feed intake of the animals are listed in Table 3. The speed of intake and meal size magnitude appeared to decrease with the inclusion level of albizia foliage in the diet (p < 0.01). At the same time, visits to the feeder increased (p = 0.007) and feeding time increased (p = 0.001) when there was an increase of the foliage in feed. These changes in the pattern of feed intake of pigs were an evident response, when the animals were increased content of an arboreal, fibrous material, corresponding to the albizia foliage. This phenomenon has been observed in other experiments evaluating alimentary resources rich in cell wall (Ly et al., 1994; Bakare et al., 2013; 2014; Kanengoni et al., 2015).

Table 3.

Pattern of feed intake of young pigs fed with diets of albizia (Albizia lebbeck (L.) Benth foliage meal1.

Albizia foliage meal, %
- 5 10 15 SE ± P
n 8 8 8 8 - -
Feed offered, kg DM 1.600 1.600 1.600 1.600 - -
Feed consumed, kg DM 0.752a 0.701ab 0.672ab 0.600b 0.074 0.004
Consumption , % 47.0a 43.8ab 42.0ab 37.5b 4.7 0.004
Time eating, min 15.1a 15.4a 18.5b 24.4c 1.3 0.001
Visits to the feeder 1.5a 1.6a 3.0b 3.2b 1.1 0.007
Meal size, kg
Fresh basis 0.586a 0.510ab 0.260b 0.216b 0.219 0.003
Dry basis 0.501a 0.438ab 0.224bc 0.187b 0.175 0.001
Speed of intake, g/min
Fresh basis 58.3a 53.1a 42.4b 30.9c 3.5 0.001
Dry basis 49.8a 45.6a 36.6b 25.5c 3.1 0.001

TFN7Measurements made during 120 min (8:00 am - 10:00 am).


TFN8Means without letters in common in the same row differ significantly (p < 0.05) among them.

Performance traits

Data relating to the performance traits of the pigs under study are recorded in Table 4.

Table 4.

Performance of young pigs fed with diets of albizia (Albizia lebbeck (L.) Benth foliage meal.

Albizia foliage meal, % SE ± P-value
0 5 10 15
n 8 8 8 8
Initial weight, kg 30.0 30.3 30.0 30.1 1.79 0.317
Final weight, kg 48.2a 47.9ab 47.1bc 46.8c 0.67 0.001
Feed intake, kg DM/day 2.51a 2.41a 2.20b 2.06b 0.11 0.001
Average daily weight gain, g/day 697a 640a 611b 599b 25 0.001
Feed intake:weight gain ratio, kg DM/kg 3.89a 3.82ab 3.57bc 3.48c 0.16 0.001

TFN9Means without letters in common in the same row differ significantly (p < 0.05) among them.

No significant differences (p > 0.05) were found between the 0 % and 5 % foliage meal albizia treatments in terms of daily consumption, average daily weight gain and feed intake:weight gain ratio. In contrast, animals fed with 15 % of this foliage showed significant differences (p < 0.001 in contrast with the control treatment). This behavior appeared to be linear, although it showed a high variability, with regards to behavioral traits recorded. These results suggest that, with the increase of foliage in feed, the content of fibrous material in the ration would be higher, with the well-known negative effects that occur in the performance traits of economic interest in these circumstances. Overall, an increase of the level of fiber in the diet, perhaps more than its origin, could exert depressive effects on the voluntary feed intake of the animals, generating negative effects in daily weight gain and food conversion efficiency (Li & Patience, 2017; Agyekum & Nyachoti, 2017).


It is suggested that albizia foliage meal does not appear to contain substances which are strong inhibitors of the voluntary feed intake of the animals. The consumption of up to 15 % of albizia foliage meal in the diet, may determine notable changes in the magnitude of the pattern of feed intake when the foliage is offered to young pigs fed diets with type B sugar cane molasses. Up to what degree this status quo has an influence on the behavioral traits of the pigs during the growing and fattening periods is yet to be established.

fn1Cite this paper: Mireles, S., Ly, J., Caro, Y., Grageola, F. (2020). Foliage of Albizia lebbeck (L.) Benth foliage to feed pigs. 1. Feed intake pattern indices and growth performance. Revista Bio Ciencias 7, e940. doi:


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