Prospects for Commercial Feedlot Finishing of Sheep in Zanzibar
Evaluation of growth and carcass performance of sheep under two feedlot finishing diets was done in Zanzibar. Fifty-four sheep aged 9-12 months with initial body weight 18.9±0.6kg) were divided into three treatments T1, T2 and T3 each with three replicates. T2 and T3 sheep were assigned randomly to two concentrate formulations (concentrate 1 and concentrate 2) while T1 of similar number used as control were grazing during the day and offered no supplements. All animals in T2 and T3 were offered 600g/day concentrates and free access of green forages as basal feed. The concentrates’ principal energy ingredients were rice bran and wheat pollard included as 35% and 25% in T2 and 40% and 20% in T3 respectively while holding other ingredients constant. Feeding was done for 82 consecutive days; finally 6 animals were randomly picked from each treatment and slaughtered for carcass analysis. A taste panel was assigned to assess acceptability and ranking of mutton against beef and goat meat by consumers. The results revealed average daily gain of 19.8 ± 4.92, 90.2 ± 3.94 and 85.7 ± 3.85g/day for T1, T2 and T3, respectively. There were no significant differences on feed intake, growth performance, empty body weight and hot carcass weight between T2 and T3, however both (T2 And T3) were significantly superior (P < 0.05) to T1. The taste panellists ranked mutton as significantly superior (P < 0.05) in all quality parameters over beef and goat meat. Cash returns were significantly higher (P < 0.05) from animals receiving T2. It was concluded that concentrate 1 (T2) can profitably support an average daily gain of 90.2g for sheep entering the feedlot at 18kglive weight and producing carcasses acceptable to consumers in Zanzibar.