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Twelve one year old West African Dwarf (WAD) sheep (10.00 ± 0.5kg) with initial body weight) were used in a 12 week experiment to determine the effect of concentrate supplement (Groundnut cake, Palm kernel cake and Soybean meal) offered with a basal diet of Panicum maximum on dry matter intake (DMI), growth performance, feed conversion ratio, water intake, protein intake and blood metabolites. The animals were allocated to four treatments consisting of Basal diet (Panicum maximum) alone, Basal + Soybean meal (GSM), Basal + Groundnut cake GGC) and Basal + Palm kernel cake (GPC). Daily intakes of grass, supplement and water intake as well as weekly liveweight changes were recorded in a 12 week feeding trial. Blood samples were collected on 0, 49th and 84th day of the experiment to measure changes in serum glucose, Albumin, Globulin and total protein. Results showed that total DMI significantly increased (P< 0.05) in GSM, GGC and GPC treatment groups compared to those on Basal diet only. Feed conversion ratio (FCR) was better (P<0.05) in animals on GSM followed by those on GPC and GGC, respectively while the worst FCR was exhibited by sheep on grass only. Average daily weight gain (ADWG) was comparable (P>0.05) in animal on GPC and GSM supplement while a lower (P<0.05) ADWG was recorded in animals offered GGC supplement and grass only. The blood metabolites were higher in animals on GPC supplements compared to those on GGC, GSM and grass only at the end of the experiment. In conclusion, feeding of GPC or GSM supplement appears promising as a means of achieving high average daily weight gain in sheep.
Key words: Panicum maximum, Concentrate supplement, WAD Sheep, Performance, blood parameters