Performance of weaner-calves of N’dama cattle fed varying levels of oil palm slurry as energy source
Provision of all year round dietary energy supplements for N’dama cattle productions a major challenge for smallholders. Oil palm slurry (OPS), an industrial waste, has the potential to replace conventional energy supplements in the diets of N’dama and reduce cost of production. There is however, paucity of documented information on its use, particularly for weaner-calves. Thus, the performance of weaner-calves of N’dama fed varying levels of oil palm slurry as energy source was investigated. Sixteen weaned calves were randomly divided into four treatment groups, with four animals per treatment and fed Panicum maximum supplemented with diets containing 0% (I),10% (II),20% (III)and 30%(IV) dried OPS as replacement for wheat offal. The feeding trial lasted180 days. Parameters determined were concentrate intake, forage intake, total dry matter intake, average daily weight gain and efficiency of feed utilisation (EFU). The intake of concentrate was similar for all treatments and ranged from 2.56-2.57kg/day. The average daily weight gain (kg/calf/day) for weaners on treatment I (0.48) was significantly (P<0.05) lower than those on OPS-based diets. The EFU were similar (P>0.05) for treatments II, III and IV and ranged from0.23-0.24. These values were however higher (P<0.05) than those on treatment I (0.19). Oil palm slurry can therefore replace wheat offal in the diet of N’dama weaners with improvement in performance.
Keywords: N’dama weaners, energy supplements, Oil palm slurry, efficiency of feed utilization