feed utilization, grass-cutter, protein, weight gain
A 120-day feeding trial was conducted to evaluate the effect of different levels of protein in the diet of growing grass-cutter on performance characteristics and nutrient digestibility. Thirty-six growing grasscutters of mean weight 520.56+ 8.9g were allotted to dietary protein levels of 14, 16, 18 and 20% crude protein (CP) of Iso-caloric level of 2600KcalMekg. Each treatment was replicated three times in a completely randomized design. Data were collected on feed intake, weight gain, feed conversion ratio, cost per weight gain, and nutrient digestibility. Increasing dietary protein levels from 14 to 20% significantly increased the dry-matter feed intake and weight gain (P<0.05). The best feed efficiency and lowest cost per weight gain were recorded in growing grass-cutter fed diet containing 16%CP. The nutrients digestibility improved as the level of protein in the diet increased from 14 to 20%. Dressing percentage followed the same trend. Based on these findings, 16% crude protein could be suggested for improved performance of growing grass-cutter in the tropics.