Feedlot Comparative Fattening, Nutrient Utilization and Profitability Evaluation of Intact and Castrated Washera Sheep
A study was conducted to evaluate the feedlot performance of intact and castrated Washera sheep under Low (300 g/day) and High (450 g/day dry matter (DM)) levels of concentrate mix supplementation. The concentrate mix contained 68 and 32% of wheat bran and noug seed cake, respectively. Twenty four sheep (12 intact and 12 castrated) with age range of 9-10 months and initial weight of 24.1±1.8 kg (mean ± SD) were used. A randomized complete block design in a 2x2 factorial treatment arrangement (2 sex category and 2 concentrate levels) was employed. The study period lasted for 90 days of fattening and 7 days of digestibility. Basal hay was fed ad libitum at a rate of 20% refusal. Total DM (871 vs 738), organic matter (OM) (789 vs 666), and crude protein (CP) (134 vs 104 g/d) intakes were significantly higher (p<0.01) for sheep at the High than the Low level of supplement. Similarly, High level of supplementation resulted in higher apparent DM, OM and CP digestibility than the Low level. Intake and digestibility were not affected by castration. Intact sheep had higher average daily gain (ADG) (58.5 vs 45.5 g/d) and feed conversion efficiency (0.071 vs 0.058) than castrated sheep. Intact sheep supplemented with High level of concentrate supplementation fetched the highest net return (798.15 Birr/head) followed by intact sheep supplemented with Low level (692.72 Birr/head). In conclusion, the result shows that fattening of intact sheep with High level of concentrate supplementation improved nutrients utilization and average daily gain, and increased net income.