Moringa leaf meal supplementation for sheep: Effect on weight gain, blood serum chemistry and carcass characteristics
This study was conducted to assess growth performance, serum chemistry and carcass characteristics of West African Dwarf sheep fed varying levels of Moringa oleifera leaf meal (MLM) as concentrate diets. Eighteen growing sheep of varying live weights (9 – 17kg) were divided into three groups that comprised six animals each, and balanced for live weight. Each group was fed one of three experimental diets containing 0% (control diet), 5% and 10% MLM, respectively, for 37 days after a 21--day quarantine period in a completely randomized design; each animal being considered a replicate. There were no treatment effects on live weight gain (P>0.05) and serum chemistry except on alanine aminotransferase and aspartate aminotransferase where highest values (20.33 and 128.33 IU/L, respectively) were recorded in the control-diet sheep. Apart from Urea, values of blood chemistry were within normal reference range for clinically healthy animals. However, there were significant (p<0.05) differences in dressing percentage, breast muscle and liver weight, with highest values of 94.42% (in 10% MLM), 1.68 % (in 5% MLM), and 1.84 % (in 5% MLM), respectively. Thus, inclusion of up to 10% MLM in concentrate diet may not cause any major health disorders in West African dwarf sheep while supplementation at 5% level may improve carcass quality.
Keywords: Sheep, Moringa, blood biochemistry and carcass characteristics