Voluntary Feed Intake, Digestibility And Performance Of Sheep Offered Straw Diet With Or Without Urea With Incremental Levels Of Acacia Brevispica

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Animal Production Society of Kenya
The objective of this study was to evaluate locally available feed resources in improving livestock production. Voluntary feed intake, nutrient digestibility, purine derivatives (PD) excretion and live-weight changes in sheep when offered a straw diet with or without urea plus 0, 10, 20 or 30% of Acacia brevis pica forage is reported. Thirty-two wethers were used in a factorial arrangement using a completely randomised block design (RCBD) for 90 days of the experiment. Inclusion of urea significantly (P < 0.01) improved the organic matter (OM) intake of straw. Total OM intake increased with incremental level of A. brevispica with about 40% at highest level of supplementation. Organic matter digestibility was lowest in the control group, increased with urea inclusion and further increased with supplementation of A. brevispica. Average daily gains were significant (P < 0.05) in supplemented group (10.4, 17.4, 24.7 and 35.2 gld for 0, 10,20, and 30% urea inclusion). Urea improves the nitrogen status in the rumen and the addition of A. brevispica provided nitrogen (N) source and also fermentable carbohydrate at higher levels of supplementation. Better responses could be obtained with further addition of energy sources such as maize bran or cassava tuber.