Feeding and working strategies for oxen used for draft purposes in semi-arid West Africa
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Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/2710
This study was conducted to determine the energy expenditure of draft oxen working on sandy soils, performing common agricultural tasks, so that energy requirements could be determined; to establish the relationships between work and intake and digestibility of roughages by draft oxen; to investigate the effect of body condition before work and liveweight losses during work on work performance, and to investigate the implications of heat stress on draft oxen in semi-arid areas. This information will allow informed decisions to be made on the feeding and management of draft animals in semi-arid areas. Four experiments were conducted. Experiment 1 investigated the energy costs of walking on soils of different consistencies and the efficiencies of doing work. Experiment 2 and 3 were designed to establish the effect of work on intake, digestibility and rate of passage of feeds (millet stover) in the digestive tract. Experiment 4 looked at the effect of body condition before work and weight losses during work on work performance. The effect of heat stress was also investigated in experiment 2, 3 and 4. This report gives details of these experiments, the results obtained and, based on these, the recommendations made regarding feeding and working strategies for draft oxen in semi-arid areas.