Supplementation of Graded Levels of Wheat Bran to Intact and Castrated Afar Sheep Fed Urea Treated Tef Straw: Effects on Feed Intake, Digestibility, Body Weight and Carcass Characteristics

  • Awet Estifanos Axum Agricultural Research Station
  • Solomon Melaku Department of Animal Science, Haramaya University


A feeding and digestibility trial was conducted to evaluate the effect of wheat bran (WB) supplementation on feed utilization and carcass characteristics in urea treated tef (Eragrostis tef) straw (UTTS) based feeding of Afar sheep. Sixteen intact and sixteen castrated Afar sheep with initial body weight (BW) of 15.75 ± 1.57 kg (mean  SD) were used in a randomized complete block design with 2 sex (intact, T1-T4 and castrated, T5-T8) x 4 levels (0, control; 150 g, low; 250 g, medium; 350 g, high) of WB supplementation on a dry matter (DM) basis. Supplementation promoted higher total DM, crude protein (CP) (P<0.001), OM (P<0.01) intake, final BW, daily BW gain, feed conversion efficiency (FCE), rib-eye muscle area (P<0.001), and dressing percentage (P<0.01). Supplementation at medium and high levels compared to the low level resulted in higher (P<0.05) DM and CP intake. High and medium levels of supplementation resulted in higher (P<0.05) apparent digestibility of DM compared to feeding solely on UTTS. The results of the study showed that UTTS could promote a reasonable level of feed intake and animal performance. Moreover, it was found that the level of supplementation is more important regarding the performance of Afar sheep in feed intake, BW and carcass parameters than castration or maintaining them intact in small-scale fattening schemes. Failure to observe differences in BW, FCE and carcass characteristics between intact and castrated Afar sheep could be attributed to the age of the sheep used in the study.

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