The effect feeding forage legumes as nitrogen supplement on growth performance of sheep
Tropical Animal Health and Production
Department of Animal Science, University of Zimbabwe, P.O. Box MP 167, Mount Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe; Department of Agriculture, Animal Health and Human Ecology, University of South Africa, UNISA, P.O. Box 392, Pretoria 0003, South Africa
The effect of feeding forage legumes, Cowpea, Silverleaf desmodium and Oxley fine stem stylo, as protein supplements to natural pasture (veld) hay on intake, growth rate and nitrogen metabolism in growing lambs was evaluated. Thirty growing lambs were stratified according to body weight and randomly assigned, within a stratum, to five diets in a completely randomised design. The diets were veld hay alone (V), veld hay supplemented with either 10 g/kg of urea (VU), veld hay supplemented with 250 g/kg Cowpea (VC), 250 g/kg Silverleaf desmodium (VS) or 250 g/kg Oxley fine stem stylo (VF) forage legume hays. The V and the VU groups were used as control diets. Animals supplemented with either urea or the forage legume had higher (P<0.01) total dry matter intake compared with the animals on V. The animals supplemented with the forage legumes had higher (P<0.01) nitrogen intake and faecal nitrogen output than the non-supplemented group. All animals, across the treatments, lost body weight; lambs on V had higher (P<0.01) body weight losses than those in the other treatments. The forage legume supplemented groups lost less (P<0.01) body weight than those on the V and VU diets. Although supplementation with forage legumes enhanced feed intake and reduced weight losses it did not maintain body weights of lambs fed a basal diet of poor quality roughages. © 2007 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
nitrogen; animal; article; chemistry; diet supplementation; eating; feces; growth, development and aging; legume; metabolism; physiology; randomization; sheep; Animals; Dietary Supplements; Eating; Fabaceae; Feces; Nitrogen; Random Allocation; Sheep; Animalia; Desmodium; Ovis aries; Stylosanthes guianensis