EFFECTS OF SUPPLEMENTATION WITH FICUS SYCOMORUS (SHOLA)ON PERFORMANCES OF WASHERA SHEEP FED NATURAL PASTURE HAY
1=School Of Animal Range Sciences, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Haramaya University, P.O. Box 138, Dire Dawa, Ethiopia.
The experiment was conducted to evaluate the effect of supplementations with F. sycomorus leaf, fruit and their mixtures ondigestibility of sheep fed basal diet hay, The experiment was carried out at Gish Abay in Sekela Woreda, West Gojjam Zone; using twenty intact male yearling Washera sheep with a mean (±SD) initial body weight of 17.5±0.39kg. The animals were vaccinated against anthrax and pasteurellosis, dewormed and sprayed against internal and external parasites, respectively, before the start of the experiment. Experimental sheep were adapted for 15 days to the treatment feeds. The experiment consisted of digestibility trial of 10 days including harness training. The experiment was laid out in a randomized complete block design (RCBD) with five blocks consisting of four animals per block based on their initial body weight. Dietary treatments were randomly assigned to one of the four treatment diets within a block. Treatments comprised of feeding natural pasture hay ad libitum (un-supplemented: T1) or natural hay supplementation with either F. sycomorus leaf (Treatment 2: T2), or F. sycomorus fruit (Treatment 4; T4), or mixture of F. sycomorus leaf and fruit in a ratio of 1:1(Treatment3; T3). The amount of supplements offered was 300 g/day on DM basis. Water and salt were available free choice. Natural pasture hay in the current study contained 8.0% crude protein (CP), 73.1% Neutral detergent fiber (NDF) and 43.6% acid detergent fiber (ADF). Sheep in the un-supplemented treatment consumed higher (p<0.001) basal dry matter intake ((581.6 g/day) as compared to supplemented group. However, total DM intake was higher for sheep in the supplemented group (T2-T4) compared to the un-supplemented (control).Supplementation significantly improved digestibility co-efficient of DM, organic matter (OM) (P<0.001) and CP (P<0.001). NDF and ADF digestibility were also improved (P<0.001) due to supplementation as compared to un-supplemented group. Thus, it can be concluded that supplementation in general improved animal performance. Among the supplements, however, T2 is biologically optimum.
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