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close this bookBetter Farming Series 46 - Use of Cassava and Sweet Potatoes in Animal Feeding (FAO, 1995, 47 p.)
close this folderSweet potato vines as an animal feed
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View the documentUse of vines in pig feeding
View the documentUse of vines in rabbit feeding
View the documentUse of vines in chicken feeding
View the documentUse of vines in ruminant feeding


206. When you harvest sweet potato tubers, large amounts of vines are available. Most people throw away the vines. You must know that they have good feed value.

Sweet potato vines

207. Sweet potato vines can be used as a protein feed for animals. They do not have as much protein as cassava leaves, but they do have more protein than grasses that may be available in your area.

208. 100 kg of dried sweet potato vines can supply 10-12 kg of protein. Grasses that commonly grow in tropical climates supply much less protein than this.

209. Sweet potato vines have no substances that are bad for animals. They can be safely fed to animals.

Use of vines in pig feeding

210. Sweet potato vines can be fed to pigs either in the fresh form or after drying.

211. Pigs readily eat the vines. You can feed the pigs any amount of fresh vines without restriction.

212. You can also dry the vines and grind them into a meal. Vines dry easily. By drying 100 kg of fresh vines, you can get about 30 kg of dried vines.

213. You can use sweet potato vine meal in compounded pig rations, but only at low levels.

214. You must not use more than 5 percent vine meal in pig rations. If you are mixing a 10- kg ration, the maximum amount of vine meal that you can use is 500 9.

Use of vines in rabbit feeding

215. If you have rabbits, you can make good use of sweet potato leaves. They like sweet potato leaves from the vines.


216. Sweet potato leaves give the protein needed for growth of rabbits. You can rear the rabbits on sweet potato leaves and grasses and get good growth.

Use of vines in chicken feeding

217. On many chicken farms, fresh green leaves are chopped and given to birds, in addition to mash. This is practiced:

- to supply pigments;
- to supply minerals and vitamins.

218. Giving green leaves to chickens is a good practice. You can reduce the amount of mash given to the chickens when you give additional greens.

219. You can use fresh sweet potato vines for chicken feeding.

220. Vine meal can be included in compounded chicken rations at low levels. In a 10- kg ration, you can use about 300 9 of sweet potato vine meal.

Use of vines in ruminant feeding

221. Fresh sweet potato vines make good feed for all ruminants. They can be given without any restriction.

222. When you feed sweet potato vines to milking animals or fattening animals, you don't have to give any other protein supplement. Vines alone can supply all the protein needed by these animals.

223. Cattle fed on sweet potato vines alone can put on more than 500 9 of body weight per day. This shows the feed value of sweet potato vines to ruminant animals.

224. You will usually have a lot of fresh vines at harvest time. If you cannot use all the fresh vines to feed animals, you can preserve the extra vines as sweet potato vine silage.

225. The method of making silage from vines is similar to that used for making silage from any other forage. You must follow the same principles.


226. To get a good silage from sweet potato vines, you have to follow an additional step.

227. You must put in an additive that will supply carbohydrates that will ferment quickly.

228. If you do not put in the additive, the silage may not be good. Moulds may grow and silage will be spoiled.

229. Sweet potato tubers, cassava roots and molasses are good examples of additive materials. Molasses is the best additive of all.

230. If you are making 100 kg of silage, you must add 2-4 kg of molasses.

231. A good sweet potato vine silage will be brownish-green in colour. It will have a pleasant fruity smell. Animals will like it. You can feed the vine silage free choice to all ruminants.

End of the Better Farming booklets series