The tolerance levels of Calcium:Phosphorus in the diet of growing grass-cutters
Calcium and phosphorus are important nutrients required for bone formation and they are important constituents of the skeleton and teeth. A twelve weeks feeding trial was conducted to determine the effect of different levels of Calcium: Phosphorus in the diet of grass-cutter (Thryonomys swinderianus) on the performance characteristics of grass-cutters. The grass-cutters were randomly allotted to 3 different treatment groups in a Completely Randomized Design (CRD). The trial consisted of 3 treatments (G1 – G3) and each treatment was replicated 3 times with 3 grass-cutters per replicate. Grass-cutters in Treatment 1 (G1) were fed a diet containing Ca:P in ratio of 0.5: 0.25 while in Treatment 2 (G2) and Treatment 3 (G3), the grass-cutter were fed diet containing Ca:P in ratio of 1:0.5 and 1.5:0.75 respectively. The parameters measured were feed intake, weight gain .Feed conversion ratio and protein efficiency ratio were calculated. The highest weight gain was recorded in the diet containing 1.5 %Ca and 0.75%P. The feed intake increased as the level of Ca :P in the diet increased . It was observed that there was no poor bone formation, enlargement of the joints, lameness and stiffness across the treatments. Calcium and phosphorus intake increased as the level of Ca :P in the diet increased in the diet. Calcium and Phosphorus digestibility were not significantly affected by the treatment effect (P>0.05). The protein efficiency ratio was not significantly affected the treatment effect Based on the present results, grass-cutter can tolerate 0.5 - 1.5 calcium and phosphorus between 0.25-0.75% in the diet.
Keywords: Calcium, feed utilization, Nutrients digestibility, phosphorus, Thryononomys swinderianus