EFFECTS OF FEED RESTRICTION AND REALIMENTATION ON PERFORMANCE AND NITROGEN UTILISATION IN GROWING WEST AFRICAN DWARF RAMS
The effects of feed restriction on the performance of growing West African Dwarf sheep were determined in twenty four (24) growing West African dwarf (WAD) rams with average weight of 8.9 Â± 0.59kg. The twenty-four WAD rams were allotted to three treatments of eight rams per treatment and balanced for weight in a Completely Randomized Design. Animals in group C which represents the control were fed with dried Panicum maximum ad libitum and concentrate supplement while group two (R1) and group three (R2) were fed with P. maximum without concentrate supplementation for one and two months, respectively. Thereafter, two months of realimentation followed the restriction. Data were taken on the feed intake, weight gain and digestibility. Results obtained on average daily gain showed significant difference (P < 0.05) whereby sheep on R2 group recorded the lowest value (50.7g/day) during restriction. Digestible organic matter intake (g/Kg 0.75 d-1) for sheep on the C group was significantly (P < 0.05) higher than R1 group, but not significantly (P > 0.05) different from R2 group. The Crude protein intake was highest in the control (49.9g/day). Rumen amino acid of the control animals (4.1) was significantly (P < 0.05) higher than R1 (2.1) and R2 (3.5) groups. Nitrogen intake (g/day) was significant and higher in the C group (8.0) compared to the two restricted groups R1 and R2. During realimentation period, average daily weight gain (g/day) was highest (P < 0.05) for animals in the control (57.5) and least in R2 (34.5). The feed conversion ratio ranged from 8.3 (C) to 14.3 (R2) while the total weight gain (kg) ranged from 2.1 (R2) to 3.5 (C). Similarly, the CP intake (g/day) was higher in the control group compared to those in R1 and R2 groups. However, the dietary amino acid recorded in R2 differ significantly (P < 0.05) from R1 and C groups. During the realimentation period, nitrogen intake for rams in R1 (8.8g/day) and R2 (10.1g/day) groupsÂ doubled the valuesÂ obtained during the restriction period. It was concluded that rams should be restricted for one month because they gained more weight than those restricted for two months.
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