The effect of processing and supplementing millet stover with groundnut haulms and cereal brans on feed intake and growth performance of sheep.
Feeding of animal has become increasingly a big challenge for smallholder farmers in the dry season in most of Sahelian countries. Sheep has an important role in social and economical activity of smallholder farmers. Millet stover (MS) and groundnut haulms (GH) are the main crop residues used. Among concentrates, millet bran (MB) and wheat bran (WB) are mostly used by smallholder farmers in feeding animals. However, these crop residues and concentrates are used inadequately. MS is a poor quality roughage diet, legume residues such as GH and brans are rich in nutritive value. The general objective of this study was to develop a feeding technology transferable to smallholder farmers by supplementing MS with GH, MB and WB to increase the growth performance of sheep during the dry season. The first study evaluated the effect of chopping millet stover (Pennisetum glaucum L. R. Br.) in sheep feeding and the degradability in sacco of feeds. Two Holstein cows were used to determine the degradability in sacco of feeds. The potential dry matter degradability (g/kg) were 846, 809, 730, 410, 550 and 370 for millet bran (MB), wheat bran (WB), groundnut haulms (GH), millet stover, leaves plus sheath and stems of MS respectively. The potential nitrogen degradability (g/kg) of MB, WB and GH were 865, 908 and 817 respectively. The nitrogen content was 7.4, 15.1, 22.0 and 26.2 g/kg for MS, GH, millet bran and wheat bran respectively. The effects of chopping millet stover (MS) on dry matter intake in Oudah bicolor sheep were studied in Maradi, Niger. Four treatments were T0 (unchopped MS), T1 (MS chopped, 50 cm), T2 (MS chopped, 25 cm) and T3 (MS chopped, 10 cm). A randomized block design was applied on 36 sheep, implying 9 sheep per treatment (T0, T1, T2 and T3). The treatment T2 or 25 cm chopping size gave the best MS intake of 560 g/day. The second study evaluated the effects of supplementing millet stover (MS) with groundnut haulms (GH), millet bran (MB) and wheat bran (WB). These supplements can improve the feed value of MS and promote live weight gain of sheep in the dry season. The purpose of this study was to develop a feeding technology transferable to smallholder farmers by supplementing MS. The study was conducted in two successive phases. The phase 1 of 66 days, evaluated the effect of GH, MB and WB supplementations on MS intake and growth performance of sheep, the phase 2 of 14 days, assessed the effect of GH, MB and WB supplementations on intake and digestibility of MS. Six treatments were constituted, namely, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 formed by four levels of GH (0, 200, 400, 600g) and two others (600g GH + 100g MB) and (600g GH + 75 g WB) respectively. A randomized block design was applied on 36 Oudah bicolor sheep, implying 6 male lambs per treatment (1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6). The GH supplementation levels had a linear effect (P<0.001) on dry matter intake (DMI) of MS, cell wall and nitrogen. Millet stover intake (MSI) decreased significantly with increasing level of GH. However the total dry matter intake (TDMI) significantly increased with GH levels. MB increased (P<0.05) both TDMI, TOMI and nitrogen intake (NI), (P<0.001). WB increased MSI (P<0.05), TDMI and TOMI (P<0.01), NI (P<0.001) and cell wall intakes. GH supplementation had both a linear and quadratic effect on DM digestibility of MS, cell wall and nitrogen digestibility. GH had a linear and significant effect (P<0.001) on live weight gain (LWG) and efficiency. The maximum average daily gain (80.5 g/day) was obtained with treatment 6 followed by the treatment 5 (68 g/day). The animals of treatment 1 received MS stover alone and lost their weight (-19.13 g/day). It is concluded that groundnut haulms, millet bran and wheat bran had good nutritive value whereas millet stover had low nutritive value. The 25 cm chopping size was the one to propose to smallholder farmers. The supplementation of MS as the basal diet with GH and brans enhanced sheep production through improvements in digestibility and intakes of TDM, TOM, cell wall and nitrogen. Key words: Millet stover; groundnut haulms; millet bran; wheat bran, chopping; intake; degradability; growth performance; Oudah bicolor sheep.
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