The study was conducted in Mekelle Agricultural Research Center to evaluate four rations for ram fattening based on station feeding trial and to evaluate the profitability of concentrate feed supplementation of the rams. Twenty-five intact rams of yearly age (1PPI dentition) with an average initial body weight of 19.3 Â± 2.1 (mean Â± SD) were purchased from the local market of the highland sheep population found in Atsbi district eastern zone of Tigray Ethiopia. The experimental rams were categorized into five groups using initial body weight as blocking variables. Five treatments were randomly assigned to the experimental units once in each block. Randomized Complete Block design (RCBD) was used to control two unwanted sources of variation (initial weight and block effect). The treatments were T1, T2 (+R1), T3 (+R2), T4 (+R3) and T5 (+R4). The four rations were varied in their ingredients and proportions. Best performed feed ration (R2) was determined under treatment T3 and consisted of Wheat bran (81%), Brewery dried grain of raya beer industry (3%), chopped and dried cactus cladode (2%), Poultry litter (2%), Acacia Saligna (5%), hay grass (estimated 5%) and salt (2%). The cumulative average body weight gain of the experimental rams was reported as 3.6Â±0.2, 3.4Â±0.2, 4.7Â±0.2, 3.8Â±0.2 and 3.5Â±0.2 kg for T1, T2 (+R1), T3 (+R2), T4 (+R3) and T5 (+R4), respectively. The current study found 67Â±8 gram as daily body weight gain
of the experimental intact rams under feedlot with a feed conversion efficiency of 0.29 for T3 which
consisted of formulated feed ration R2. The body weight gain of rams was higher (P<0.05) in T3 than the rams fed onT1, T2, T4 and T5 (Table 10). Treatments 2 to 5 are supplemented with formulated rations (R1-R4) in which treatment T3 (+R2) had a significant (at Î± value 0 .05) effect on feed intake (g/day) than T2, T4, T5 and T1. The current study determined the net return of 1408 ETB from formulated feed ration R2 per one fattening, which indicates its feasibility for sheep fattening under feedlots (Table 11). The current study concludes that proper utilization of locally available feed resources is economically feasible and mandatory under dry land areas through developing total mixed feed ration for specific mutton production objectives.
Keywords: ram fattening, feed ration, weight gain, formulated feed and economic feasibility