F. B. Hassan, A. G. Bala, S. Bashir, C. A. M. Lakpini, W. O. Ehoche


The study was conducted at the National Animal Production Research Institute Shika, Zaria, Nigeria to compare the feeding values of Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon) or Wooly finger grass (Digitaria smutsii) as basal diet on growth performance and some blood metabolites in weaned female Yankasa lambs. Twenty weaned female Yankasa lambs with an average body weight of 10± 2kg were randomly assigned to four treatments with five lambs per treatment in a randomized complete block design. They were fed with either Cynodon dactylon (treatments A and B) or Digitaria smutsii (treatments C and D) ad-libitum. Lambs in treatments A and C were supplemented at 1.00% of body weight (BW) while those in treatments B and D were supplemented at 1.50% BW. The concentrate was a mixture of maize (75.20%), cottonseed cake (23.80%), common salt (0.50%), and bone meal (0.50%). Feed intake, weight gain, nutrient digestibility and serum metabolites were determined. The result showed that there was no difference in the nutrient content of Digitaria and Cynodon, but the analysis of concentrate revealed a higher level of crude protein and lower levels of neutral and acid detergent fibers. The forage intake was higher in Digitaria but not significantly (P>0.05) different from Cynodon. There was an increase in concentrate intake as the level of supplementation increased. The same trend was observed with the total intake. Supplementation at 1.50% gave higher (P>0.05) total intake than at 1.00% supplementation. Daily weight gain was higher (P>0.05) with Cynodon supplemented at 1.50% BW than with Digitaria supplemented at 1.50% BW. Cynodon supplemented at 1.50% BW was found to be the most efficient and was significantly (P<0.05) different from Digitaria supplemented at 1.50% BW. The nutrient digestibility result also showed that lambs fed Cynodon dactylon were marginally higher than in lambs fed Digitaria smutsii, irrespective of the concentrate inclusion. Supplementation was found to increase the level of blood protein, albumin, and globulin. It was concluded from the study that Cynodon dactylon is a good forage substitute for Digitaria smutsii at a high supplementation level of 1.50%. It is hence recommended that Cynodon dactylon which is a native pasture available as weed in all the ecological zones of the country can be effectively used as forage for small ruminant production


Cynodon dactylon, Digitaria smutsii, Concentrate, Female, Lambs

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