Effects of Forage Species and Preparations on the Growth and Feeding Performance of Sheep

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Jeferson H. Yucaddi


Sheep production is very minimal in the Philippines amidst its better economic performance than goat. Lack of researches on this livestock is seen as one factor affecting its lack of acceptance by local livestock raisers. Also, available feed resources and efficient utilization by sheep is constraint in the country despite the abundance of forage. Here, we investigate the effect of forage species, namely napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum) and star grass (Cynodon dactylon), and the type of preparation, namely soilage and silage, on the efficient utilization of forage and its effect on the growth performance of sheep. Forage species did not significantly affect the gain in weight and feed conversion ratio of sheep but acted differently on the feed intake of sheep wherein napier grass was 50% greater than star grass. On the other hand, preparations of forage played significant role on the feed conversion ratio of sheep as silage resulted to an increased weight gain and augmented efficiency in converting feed into weight gain. Though interaction of species and preparations of forage did not show significant results, napier grass silage showed the highest weight gain and the best feed conversion ratio. The results suggest that preference of sheep for unpalatable forage could be encourage through inclusion (mixing) of napier grass in the diet. Similarly, silage could be added (mixed) with other feed preparations (soilage and hay) to encourage high weight gain and better feed conversion ratio.

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