Indexed on: 01 Feb '02Published on: 01 Feb '02Published in: Tropical Animal Health and Production
Twenty young Kirdi (West African Dwarf) rams, averaging 22 kg live weight and 15 months of age, were randomly assigned to four feeding groups of 5 animals each. The groups were subjected to an 8-week feeding trial to determine the effect of different protein supplements on their voluntary intake of rice straw and on their performance. The animals in one of the groups were maintained on a daily basal diet of rice straw given ad libitum and 250 g of rice bran per animal (control). Other groups were fed the basal diet, supplemented with 300 g of groundnut haulms (GH diet), 45 g of cotton seed cake (CSC diet) or 210 g of chopped cowpea vines (CPV diet) per animal per day. The average daily weight gains of the animals feeding on the control, GH, CSC and CPV diets were 20.00, 48.93, 52.14 and 49.29 g, respectively. The gains in live weight of the supplemented groups did not differ significantly (p>0.05), but there was a difference (p<0.05) in live weight gain between the supplemented groups and the control. The differences in intake of rice straw among the groups were highly significant (p<0.01). Cotton seed cake increased (p<0.01) the intake, while feeding crop residues tended to depress the intake of rice straw. Variations in the height at withers, heart girth and scapulo-ischial length did not differ significantly (p>0.05) among the groups. In terms of live weight gain and intake of rice straw, cotton seed cake was the most effective supplement, but, since the crop residues are more readily available to farmers in this area of the country, they merit more attention.