The Potential of Coarsely Ground, Gelatinized and Soaked Maize Grain as Energy Supplements to Arsi-Bale Sheep Fed a Basal Diet of Native Grass Hay
AbstractAn experiment was conducted in Randomized Complete Block Design using eighteen yearling male Arsi-Bale sheep with initial body weight of 14.27±1.12 (mean ± SD) with the objective of determining effect of supplementing coarsely ground maize (CGM), gelatinized maize (GM), and soaked maize(SM) as energy supplement to native grass hay (GH) basal diet on feed intake, live weight change and carcass parameters of Arsi-Bale sheep. The growth experiment lasted for 90 days followed by evaluation of carcass parameters. The experimental sheep were blocked into six blocks of four animals each based on their initial live weight and animals from each block were randomly assigned to three treatments, giving a replication of six animals per treatments. At the end of the experimental period the sheep were deprived of feed and water for 14 hours to reduce gut content variation before slaughter for carcass evaluation. Native grass hay had high NDF (66.9%) and ADF (43.4%) contents and low CP (6.8%) content. The differently processed form of maize grain used in the experiment had low NDF, ADF and ADL contents. Maize grain supplemented sheep had similar (P>0.05) hay DM, total DM and total OM intake which is at the end also similar in feed conversion efficiency, final body weight, average daily gain and dressing percentage. In the same way no significant differences (P>0.05) were also observed among different forms of maize grain supplementation on rib-eye area, the total edible offal components and carcass parameters because of comparable nutritional profile of the different forms of the grain. Coarse grinding of maize grain was found to be equally effective as other forms of processing such as soaking and gelatinization in improving feed utilization, growth rate and carcass attributes of sheep at lower cost, which could lead to a better profit margin.
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