The Value of Cassava for Growth of Sheep
Three experiments were conducted to investigate the value of cassava for sheep feeding. In Experiment 1 twelve Nigerian Dwarf sheep between five and six months of age, ranging in liveweight from 6 to 14 kg were randomly allotted by sex and weight to three experimental treatments. The treatment groups received either a maize-groundnut meal control diet, a fresh cassava + poultry litter mixture that had been ensiled and later mixed with protein supplement, or dried cassava-groundnut meal diet, during the 70-day experimental period.
In Experiment 2, unpeeled fresh cassava roots of the high HCN variety were used to replace maize in lamb diets. Fresh cassava was fed mixed daily with a protein supplement to the first treatment group while the other group received a maize-based control diet, over a 56-day period. In Experiment 3 the apparent digestibility of the nutrients in the unpeeled fresh roots, dried roots and peels were investigated.
The results of the three experiments indicated that total replacement of maize with either dried total replacement of maize with either dried cassava, cassava ensiled with poultry litter or unpeeled fresh roots for growing lambs gave responses equal to the control diet. Ensiling of fresh cassava roots destroyed 99% of the HCN while the addition of poultry litter increased the crude protein content of the silage by about 270% when compared with the unpeeled fresh roots and by about 435% when compared with ensiled roots to which no poultry litter was added. All the nutrients in cassava roots, except crude protein were well digested by sheep. Ether extract digestibility was however generally low. In all cases no symptoms of toxicity were noticed.