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Supplementation of isonitrogenous oil seed cakes in cactus (Opuntia ficus-indica) - tef straw (Eragrostis tef) based feeding of Tigray highland sheep

  • Degu, A.
  • Melaku, S.
  • Berhane, G.
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2008


The experiment was conducted at Maichew Agricultural Technical Vocational Education and Training College, Ethiopia. Twenty four male yearling Tigray Highland sheep with mean body weight (BW) of 21 ± 2.6 kg (mean ± S.D.) were used to investigate the effect of different protein sources on feed intake, nutrient digestibility, BW change and carcass parameters in a study comprising of 90 days feeding trial, followed by 7 days of digestibility trial and evaluation of carcass parameters. Six individually fed animals were used per treatment in a randomized complete block design. The treatments consisted of ad libitum feeding of tef (Eragrostis tef) straw plus 172 g dry matter (DM) of cactus (Opuntia ficus-indica) pear (T1, control) and supplementation with 145 g DM cotton seed cake (CSC) (T2), 195 g DM noug seed cake (NSC) (T3) or 149 g DM peanut cake (PNC) (T4) per head per day. The quantity of the supplements was set to supply 62.5 g crude protein (CP). Tef straw DM intake was depressed (P<0.01) as the result of NSC supplementation. Sheep supplemented with CSC and PNC had higher (P<0.001) total DM intake than the control and NSC supplemented ones. Supplementation with NSC and PNC also resulted in higher (P<0.01) apparent digestibility of DM and OM compared to the control treatment. Supplementation with CSC and PNC resulted in better daily BW gain (P<0.001), feed conversion efficiency (FCE) and dressed carcass weight (P<0.01) compared to the non-supplemented diet. Dressing percentage on slaughter weight base was higher (P<0.01) in supplemented sheep than in the non-supplemented ones. Supplementation with PNC also promoted higher (P<0.05) rib-eye muscle area than in the non-supplemented ones. It was concluded that supplementation with 145 g DM CSC and 149 g DM PNC resulted in better feed intake, BW gain and carcass traits in cactus-tef straw based feeding of sheep.

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