Supplementary Value of Camel’s Foot Tree (Piliostigma thonningii) Leaf Meal as a Replacement for Concentrate Mixture on the Performance of Gumuz Sheep Fed Finger Millet Straw Based Diet
The objective of the experiment was to evaluate the effects of substitution of Camel’s foot tree (Piliostigma thonningii (PT)) leaf meal for concentrate mix (CM) on the performances of Gumuz sheep. During the 90 days feeding trial, thirty five yearling male Gumuz sheep with an average initial body weight of 20.21 ± 2.82 kg (mean ± SD) were grouped into seven blocks of five animals, and each animal was randomly assigned to one of the five dietary treatment feeds within a block. The dietary treatments included feeding of ad libitum finger millet straw supplemented with 100% CM (T1); 75% CM + 25% PT (T2); 50% CM + 50% PT (T3), 25% CM + 75% PT (T4) and 100% PT (T5) on dry matter (DM) basis. The supplements were offered at the rate of 300 g DM/day. The total DM and organic matter intakes for T1 were greater (P<0.05) than those sheep fed T4 and T5 diets while T2 and T3 had an intermediate value. The lowest (P<0.05) supplement and CP intakes were recorded for T5. The digestibility of DM, organic matter, crud protein, neutral detergent fiber and acid detergent fiber was similar (P>0.05) up to 50% PT leaf meal substitution level. Sheep fed T5 diet had the lowest (P<0.05) DM and nutrient digestibility. The average daily gain for T1, T2, T3 and T4 was higher (P<0.05) than those consuming T5 diets. The slaughter weight for T1 was higher (P<0.05) than T5 while T2, T3 and T4 had an intermediate values. The hot carcass weight and empty body weight were similar (P > 0.05) among treatments. An increase in proportion of PT leaf meal beyond 75% resulted in BW loss of 19.2 g/d. It was concluded that PT leaves could serve as alternative CP supplement in crop residue based feeding and substitution of concentrate with PT leaf meal beyond 50% had no beneficial role in sheep feeding.