Nigerian Veterinary Journal

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Rumen degradability characteristics of Stylosanthes gracilis, Panicum maximum, Pennisetum purpureum and Centrosema pubescens in sheep

LO Aka, TN Kamalu


The rumen degradability of four common Nigeria forages namely, Stylosanthes gracilis, Panicum maximum, Pennisetum purpureum, Centrosema pubescens were studied. The rumen degradability of the crude protein (CP), dry matter (DM) and organic matter (OM) contents of these forages were measured in four rumen-fistulated sheep weighing 9.6±0.07kg and using the nylon bag technique. A 4 x 4 latin square experimental design was used where four replicates of each forage were put in nylon bags measuring 7.5 x 10cm and incubated in the rumen of four sheep. The percentage disappearance of crude protein, dry matter and organic matter were monitored by withdrawing each bag at different time internals of 4, 8, 24 and 48hrs. The percent potential degradability of the forages at 48hrs were as follows: S. gracilis, CP (67%); DM (75%); OM (63%-); P. maximum, CP (57%), DM (50.12%), OM (40.36%); P. purpureum, CP (66%), DM (62.13%), OM (58.36%); C. pubescens, CP (50.7%), DM(51.1%), OM(51.06%). The DM and OM potential degradability for S. gracilis was significantly (p<0.05) higher than C. pubescens and P. maximum. There was however no significant (p>0.05) difference in the OM degradability of S. gracilis and P. purpureum. There was an inverse relationship between the crude fiber content of forages (Legumes and Grasses) and their rumen degradability. The data obtained in this study will help in formulating forage based diets that provide adequate rumen degradable and by pass proteins for optimum growth and productivity
KEY WORDS: Rumen, sheep, degradability
Nigerian Veterinary Journal Vol.25(1) 2004: 14-20
AJOL African Journals Online