Effects of fertilized maize leaf concentrate diets on the growth, haematology and carcass characteristics of West African dwarf sheep
The effects of fertilized maize leaf concentrate (MLC) diets as feed supplements on the performance of the West African Dwarf (WAD) breed of sheep were evaluated. The 90-day experiment involving twenty-five (25) WAD sheep with average body weight of 11.14 ± 0.88kg in a completely randomized design were fed five diets containing concentrate from maize leaves fertilized with manure of poultry, swine, sheep for treatments 1 to 3 while NPK and the control made up treatments 4 and 5, respectively. Data were obtained on feed intake, weight gain, haematological and serum parameters as well as carcass characteristics and meat sensory evaluation. Results showed that manure fertilized MLC had a positive effect (p<0.05) on dry matter (DM) intake and weight gain of sheep. Among treatments, animals supplemented with sheep manure MLC showed better DM intake (466.79g/day), weight gain (46.44g/day) and feed conversion ratio (10.06). Results on the blood indices showed variation (p<0.05) in values observed in white blood cells (7.05-8.4 x109/L) and serum glucose (82.90-97.55mg/dl) while other parameters were similar among the treatment groups. Carcass traits of sheep varied (p < 0.05) across treatments with sheep fed manure MLC having better values. Dressing percentage varied (p < 0.05) from 50.58 to 58.86% in sheep fed sheep manure MLC and the control treatment, respectively. Following sensory assessment, panelists rated eating quality traits similar (p > 0.05) across treatments with variation (p < 0.05) observed in the ratings for flavour. It was concluded that sheep offered manure fertilized MLC improved performance with animals fed sheep manure MLC having better plane of nutrition, thereby supporting higher growth rates and carcass traits.
Keywords: Carcass, dry season, haematology, maize leaves, manure, performance, sensory, sheep
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