Evaluation of growth performance of yearling sheep using cultivated forages
An experiment was conducted in Das dinzaz kebele of Gumara Maksegnit watershed for fattening of 18 yearling sheep with age of one year with initial weight of 20.46 kg using Napier grass and Sesbania fresh biomass supplementation for 105 days. The treatments were: T1 grazing alone; T2 grazing with 400gm concentrate, and T3 grazing plus 85% Napier grass with 15% Sesbania (85 N 15 S). Average initial body weight (20.46 kg) was not different between feeding treatment groups. The mean final weight (Kg), total body weight gain (Kg) and average daily weight gain (g) obtained were 24.8, 4.34 and 48.27, respectively. Final body weight and average daily body weight gains were not significantly different (p>0.05) between treatments. The group fed on grazing plus concentrate supplement and 85%Napier grass with 15% Sesbania had better final body weight and average daily body weight gain. Average daily dry matter (DM) intake was calculated only for those groups fed indoors because of the difficulty of determining feed intake in grazing animals. The groups fed on 85N15S had higher dry matter intake and grazing plus concentrate had better feed conversion efficiency. The results indicated the possibility of increasing sheep production in areas where grazing land is a problem while the production of these forage species is possible. For a fattening practice, these forage feeds should be supplemented with concentrate feed for which the level of supplementation needs to be set. The partial budget analysis showed that feeding of 85%N with 15% S gave a better return for sheep production and fattening purpose in the study area.