The study was conducted with the objective of measuring feed intake, digestibility, and growth performance of Begait sheep fed hay basal diet and supplemented with different levels of Tsara (Pterocarpus lucens) leaves, Pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan) leaves and concentrate mixture on iso-nitrogenous basis to supply 66.60 g/day crude protein (CP) on dry matter (DM) basis. Twenty five yearling male Begait sheep with initial body weight (BW) of 24.2±1.1 kg (Mean±standard deviation, SD) were used in a randomized complete block design (RCBD) based on their initial BW. The hay was fed to all sheep on ad libitum basis. Treatments were hay alone (T1), or supplemented with 400 g DM Tsara (P. lucens) leaf (T2), 320 g DM pigeon pea (C. cajan) leaf (T3), 360 g DM mixtures of Tsara (P. lucens) and pigeon pea (C. cajan) leaves (T4) and 300 g DM concentrate mixture (75% rice bran and 25% sesame seed cake; T5). The study consisted of 90 days feeding and 7 days of digestibility trials. Hay DM intake ranged from 850 to 985 g/day and was the highest for T1, while total DM intake was the highest for T2 (1299 g/day), lowest for T1 (985 g/day) and intermediate for the other three treatments (1143-1202 g/day). The CP intake was higher (P<0.001) for T2 (115 g/day), T4 (113 g/day) and T5 (115 g/day) than T3 (105 g/day) and was lowest for T1 (55 g/day). The apparent CP digestibility was lowest for T1 (43%), and was in the order of T5 (77%) > T2 (72%) > T4 (65%) while the value for T3 (66.4%) was similar with that of T2 and T4. The average daily gain (ADG) was 31, 85, 52, 54 and 107 g/day (SEM = 1.83) in the order of T5 > T2 > T3 = T4 > T1. In conclusion, based on the biological performance results supplementation of concentrate mixture (T5) and Tsara (T2) (P. lucens) leaf induced a comparable response of feed intake, digestibility and body weight gain and were better than the supplemental feeds that contained Pigeon pea and are therefore recommended.
Key words: Average daily gain, feed conversion efficiency, nutrient intake.
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