EFFECTS OF DIETARY CRUDE PROTEIN LEVELS AND CEREAL STOVER AND BUFFEL GRASS HAY BASED TOTAL MIXED RATIONS ON INTAKE AND GROWTH PERFORMANCE OF YEARLING TSWANA SHEEP

M.D. Legodimo, M. Letso, E.E. Waugh

Abstract


The study was conducted to find out the effects of crude protein (CP) levels (13.5 %, 15.5 % and 17.5 %) and different forages (sorghum stover, millet stover and buffel grass hay) on feed intake, growth rate and feed efficiency of Tswana yearling sheep. Fifty-four (54) sheep castrates were allocated to treatments in 3 x 3 factorial arrangements under completely randomised design for ninety days. It was found that crude protein level influenced (P < 0.05) total feed intake, final live weight, average daily gain and feed efficiency. Crude protein levels of 13.5 % and 15.5 % produced statistically (P < 0.05) similar final weights. The final weight and average daily gain (ADG) decreased linearly with increasing levels of dietary protein. Diets containing 13.5 % CP produced the highest mean total feed intake, ADG and feed efficiency, while the highest CP (17.5 %) produced the lowest total feed intake and daily gain. Forage type significantly influenced final live-weights, ADG and feed intake in yearling sheep. Millet stover rations produced higher (P < 0.05) live weight, ADG and feed intake in yearling sheep than the other two diets. On the other hand, sorghum stover based rations produced the lowest live weight, ADG and total feed intake. Yearling Tswana sheep may be fed millet and sorghum stovers and buffel grass hay based TMR containing 13.5 % CP since with this level of crude protein sheep gave superior performances in all parameters assessed. Given the relative performance of the three diets, it is recommended that millet stover based diets be fed as the first choice, followed by buffel grass and sorghum based diets in that order depending on availability.


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