The study was conducted to evaluate the effect of soybean or groundnut straw replacement for hay on live weight change and carcass characteristics of Gumuz sheep at Pawe Agricultural Research Centre. Thirty yearling male intact Gumuz sheep with initial body weight of 18.91 ± 2.6 kg (mean ± SD) were used in the experiment. The study consists of 90 days of feeding trial period after acclimatization of 15 days for the treatment feed, followed by evaluation of carcass characteristics at the end. The experimental design used was randomized complete block design. The experimental animals were grouped in to six blocks based on their initial body weight and each animal was randomly assigned to one of the five treatment diets; namely, Hay alone basal diet (control treatment; (T1), 50% Hay + 50% soybean straw (T2), 50% Hay + 50% groundnut straw (T3), 25% Hay + 75% groundnut straw (T4), and 25% Hay + 75% soybean straw (T5). Toasted soybean grain of 172 g and 5% molasses (of daily feed offered) were supplemented for each treatment group equally throughout the experiment period. Water and salt lick were available free choice. Natural pasture hay, soybean straw and groundnut straw contained 7.12, 4.39, and 8.08% CP, respectively. The daily body weight gains of T3 (91.48 g/d) was higher (P<0.01) than other treatment groups, whereas T2 (58.5) exhibited lower daily body weight gain. There was no difference in feed conversion efficiency (FCE) among treatments. The hot carcass weight of sheep in T3 and T4 were higher (P<0.01). The mixture of natural pasture hay with groundnut straw 50:50 or 25:75, respectively, resulted in heavier carcass yield showing the priority basal feed, but use of all combinations of the basal feed resulted in good performance of the Gumuz sheep breed.
Key words: Metekel, natural pasture hay, replacement.
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