Effect of Supplementing Improved Forage Legumes (Cajanus cajan and Lablab purpureus) on Carcass Characteristics of Horro Sheep Fed A Basal Diet of Cynodon dactylon Hay

Mekonnen Diribsa


The experiment was conducted at Bako Agricultural Research Center during 2014 using thirty intact male yearling Horro sheep to evaluate the effect of supplementing a basal diet of natural grass hay with Cajanus cajan (CC), Lablab purpureus (LP) and the mixture of CC and LP on carcass characteristics of growing Horro lambs. The experimental animals were grouped into six blocks, and each animal was randomly assigned to one of the five dietary treatment feeds. The treatments were:  feeding of Cynodon dactylon (CD) hay as control (T1), and supplementation of basal diet with mixture of CC and LP at 100:0, 40:60, 60:40 and 0:100%, respectively. Accordingly, 236, 294, 274 and 333gm of the supplement foliages were offered to T2, T3, T4 and T5 animals, respectively on dry matter (DM) bases. Likewise, 125gm wheat bran (WB) was offered across the treatments mainly to reduce weight lose in the control group. The experimental animals were adapted to their respective experimental feeds for 14 days. The feeding trial was conducted for 90 days followed by carcass evaluation in which all animals were slaughtered. The CP contents of CC, LP, WB and CD hay were 26.41, 18.67, 17.46 and 11.72%, respectively. Organic matter ranged from 88.84 (CD hay) to 95.11% (WB). Supplementation highly increased (P<0.001) slaughter weight, empty body weight, hot carcass weight, rib-eye muscle area and weights of most of the edible and non-edible offal than control group (T1). Therefore, it can be concluded that, supplementation with forage legumes (Lablab purpureus  and Cajanus cajan) can enhance the utilization of poor quality roughages under smallholder mixed farming systems for better growth and carcass yield of Horro sheep. Better carcass traits were observed in rams supplemented with 333gm LP, followed by 94 and 200 gm CC and LP mixture, thus this feeding system can be recommended for small scale farmers who engaged in sheep fattening program.

Keywords: Supplementation, Cynodon dactylon, carcass, Horro lambs, improved forage

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