Performance and nutrient digestibility of West African Dwarf rams fed Panicum maximum and Tridax procumbens supplemented with Cajanus cajan leaves
Keywords:WAD rams, legume, tropical grass, performance, nutrient digestibility
An experiment was carried out to investigate the performance and nutrient digestibility of West African dwarf growing rams fed mixture of Panicum maximum and Tridax procumbens supplemented with Cajanus cajan leaves for 56 days feeding trial. A total of twelve WAD rams were randomly allocated to three treatments with four animals per treatment while two animals served as replicate. The experimental diet was fed at 3% body weight of individual animals while Cajanus cajan leaves were supplemented at varied inclusion levels. The results revealed that animals fed T1 recorded the least weight gain (36.96g/day) while the highest weight gain (56.42g/day) was recorded for T3. The daily weight gain of animals was significantly different across all treatments (P<0.05). The highest DMI (18.30kg) was recorded on the T1, and the least value of DMI (17.40kg) was recorded in T3. The highest feed efficiency ratio (0.18) and the lowest value (0.11) were observed in animals fed T1 and T3 diet respectively. There were significant differences (P<0.05) in the nutrient digestibility parameters of the experimental animals. The results showed that T1 (100% sole Cajanus cajan leaves) promoted the best dry matter (DM) digestibility (89.56%) which was enough to meet the production and maintenance requirement of small ruminants while the lowest value (88.67%) of DMD was recorded in T2 . The highest crude protein (CP) digestibility (13.20%) was observed in T3 diet. The highest value for crude fibre digestibility (38.95%) and the lowest value (35.35%) were observed in animals fed T2 and T1 diet respectively. In conclusion, supplementation of Cajanus cajan leaves with mixture of Tridax procumbens and Panicum maximum as basal diet for feeding sheep enhanced nutrient intake, growth performance and improved nutrient digestibility without health challenges to the animals.