Growth performance and carcass characteristics of Yankasa rams fed varying levels of Panicum maximum - concentrate mix under intensive feedlot in South Western Nigeria
Keywords:Supplements, Panicum maximum, Yankasa rams, Metabolic weight gain, Carcass yield
Consumption of animal protein in Nigeria is far less than recommended level for adequate growth and development in humans. There is the need to beef up livestock production, especially in the sub humid zone through intensive system using bigger breeds for improved nutritional status. The objective of this study was to evaluate the growth performance and the carcass characteristics of Yankasa rams fed Panicum maximum fodder supplemented with concentrate mix under intensive feedlot. Twenty yearling Yankasa rams of an average body weight of 21.33+0.50 kg were randomly assigned into five treatment groups with four animals per group in a randomized completely block design (RCBD) after being quarantined for 30 days. The experimental diets consisted of Panicum maximum fodder as the basal diet at 3% body weight of the rams. Concentrate diet was formulated using maize (25.00%), brewers dried grains (40.50%), moringa leaf meal (16.00%), urea (2.70%), rice husk (14.50%), vitamin-mineral premix (1.00%) and common salt (0.30%). The concentrate mix served as the supplement to and replaced the basal diet at 0, 0.5, 1.0, 1.5 and 2.0% body weight of the rams respectively in treatment 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. The amount of feed offered was adjusted weekly based on average body weight from the preceding week. The dry matter, crude protein (CP) constituents and the gross energy (GE) value of concentrate were higher than that of the forage. However, the crude fibre (CF) of forage was greater than the CF of concentrate mix. There were no significant (p>0.05) differences among the means of the feed intake in the treatments. The average daily weight gain and metabolic weight gains increased significantly (p<0.05) with increased supplements. Significantly (p<0.05) higher feed conversion ratio (FCR) was recorded for rams in T1 (24.07±1.12) while T5 had lowest value (8.35±0.80). Carcass yield was increased with increasing level of supplementation while integrity of the relative organs characteristics were maintained. The best result was obtained when Yankasa rams were fed with 2% concentrate mix as percentage body weight of the rams. Supplementing Panicum maximum with varied levels of concentrate mix resulted in improved rams’ productivity.
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