An experiment was conducted to investigate the effects of urea-treated fibrous diets on the intake, nutrient digestibility, performance and haematological parameters of Yankasa rams. A total of 48 Yankasa rams (BW 10.00 ± 1.50 kg; 6-8 months old) were allocated into four treatment groups in a completely randomised design (12 rams per treatment). Animals were placed on complete rations of yam peels, maize bran and rice husk treated with 0, 1.0, 1.5 or 2.0 % urea. The experiment lasted for 18 weeks. Yankasa rams fed with urea-treated diets had higher feed intake (949.88 and 938.04 g/day for U15 and U20, respectively), daily weight gain (227.67 and 181.00 g/day for U15 and U20, respectively) and better feed conversion ratio (4.17 and 5.18 for U15 and U20, respectively). Rams on urea-treated diets had higher haemoglobin and red blood cell contents and higher weight gains, indicating that urea treatment enhanced nutrient supply and utilisation at the tissue level. It was concluded that urea treatment of fibrous farm by-products is a promising feeding strategy especially during the dry season when there is scarcity of high-quality forages. Addition of 1.5 % urea to roughage diets and farm by-products to form a total mixed ration may preclude the search for supplements.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Animals
- Animal Science and Zoology