Carcass Yield and Composition of Supplementing Hararghe Highland sheep with Ficus sur (cv. Forssk.) Fruits to a Basal Diet of Natural Pasture Hay
The experiment was conducted to evaluate the supplementary value of dried and ground
Ficus sur fruits (FSF) mixed at different proportions with oats grain (OG) on carcass yield,
carcass composition, and pH concentration. Thirty Hararghe highland lambs with initial live weights of 14.32±0.25kg (mean±SEM) were used for the experiment. The experimental sheep were grouped into 5 based on their initial body weight. Thus, the experiment was laid out in a randomized complete block design (RCBD) consisting of 5 treatments and 6 replications. The treatments were: ad libitum natural pasture hay (control); 100%FSF:0%OG [100FSF]; 67%FSF:33%OG [67FSF]; 33%FSF:67%OG [33FSF]; 0%FSF:100%OG [0FSF], which were randomly assigned to the sheep in each block. Noug seed (Gizotia abysinica) cake (NSC) was supplemented at isonitrogenous levels to all treatments and control diets. No significant (P>0.05) effect of the dietary treatments was observed on carcass parameters and most of the edible and non-edible offal components. The carcass of lambs fed 100FSF diet consist the highest (P<0.001) moisture and crude protein (CP), but the least ether extract (EE) as compared to those consumed 0FSF diet. The pH of the carcass consistently declined from the initial measure taken at 45 minutes post-evisceration to measurement taken at 24 hours. Carcass of lamb fed treatment diets 67FSF aand 100FSF have better maintained pH value within the desirable range. Hence, it can be concluded that feeding FSF to Hararghe highland sheep as a supplement to natural pasture hay based diet with sufficient protein supplement improved carcass yield and pH as compared to oat grains.
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