Effect of Elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum) ensiled with different proportions of Dolichos lablab (Lablab purpureus) on intake, digestibility and growth performance of Horro sheep
The study was conducted at Bako Agricultural Research Center with the aim to evaluate the effect of Elephant grass ensiled with different proportions of Dolichos lablab on intake, digestibility and body weight gain of Horro sheep. Elephant grass and Dolichos lablab were harvested after eight weeks of regrowth and 50% blooming stage, respectively. Forages were chopped, weighed separately and mixed with 3% molasses before ensiling in a pit. A total of twenty intact male yearling Horro sheep were stratified into four groups based on initial body weight in a Randomized Complete Block Design and randomly assigned to the dietary treatments. Dietary treatments were Elephant grass ensiled alone, with 10, 20 and 30% of Dolichos lablab and designated as T1, T2, T3 and T4, respectively. Lambs in all treatments were supplemented with wheat bran at 1.5% body weight. The study comprised 90 days of feeding trial followed by 7 days of digestibility trial. The dry matter content of the silage increased from 30.14 to 35.34 and crude protein content from 8.75 to 12.38% from T1 to T4. However, it contained 15.15, 14.30 and 50.70% NDF, ADF and ADL concentrations, respectively. The total DM intake of lambs fed T4 diets was greater by 19.53, 7.83 and 3.56%, whereas the total CP intake was higher by 31.15%, 17.36%, and 9.66% than T1, T2 and T3, respectively. Higher ADL and lower ADF intake were observed for lambs fed T1 diet. The DM Digestibility of lambs fed T4 diets were increased by 17.59, 10.09 and 6.18% than those on T1, T2 and T3 diets, respectively. Lambs fed T4 diet had higher digestibility of CP and NDF than those fed T3, T2 and T1 with comparable values of NDF obtained for T4 and T3. The lowest ADF digestibility was recorded for lambs fed T1 diet with similar values among other groups. Lambs fed T4 diet had higher final body weight (28.04 kg) compared to T2 (26.08 kg) and T1 (23.52 kg) and higher daily gain of 43.55, 59.55 and 73.11 g/day for T1, T2 and T3, respectively. Higher value of FCE was obtained from lambs fed T4 diet followed by T3 > T2 > T1 in that order. Therefore, addition of 20-30% Dolichos lablab in Elephant grass silage enhanced its nutritive value, thereby increasing the nutrient intake and digestibility for better growth of Horro sheep.
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