Feed intake, water balance and water economy in highland sheep fed teff (Eragrostis teff) straw and supplemented with graded levels of Leucaena leucocephala
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Ethiopian Journal of Animal Production;6(1): 67-82
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/32898
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of L. leucocephala supplementation on feed intake, water balance and water economy in highland sheep fed teff straw as basal diet. Sixteen young male sheep of uniform weight were assigned in a completely randomized design to the following feeding treatments: ad libitum teff straw (T 1, control), supplemented with 60 (T2), 120 (T3) or 180 (T4) g head 'day 1 air dried leaves of L. leucocephala. Supplementation increased straw (p<0.01) and total feed (p<0.001) intakes, total water turnover as well as all avenues of water gains and losses (p<0.001). Compared with the mean daily DMI of 338 g and 633 ml total water turnover rate of sheep in Ti, sheep in Ta consumed 49Â°/a more DM and turned over 54% more water. Drinking water was the major avenue of water intake (80%; 511 ml in Ti vs 1108 ml in T4), followed by metabolic water (15%; 91 ml in Ti vs 201 ml in T4) and preformed water (5%; 31 ml in Ti vs 65 ml in Ta). From the out put side, water loss was highest through evaporation (55%; 330 ml in Ti vs 767 ml in Ta) followed by urine (27%; 166 ml in Ti vs $89 ml in T4) and faecal (18%; 137 ml in Ti vs 218 in Ta) water. Supplementation was accompanied by liberal water use and resulted in low water economy; the control sheep (Ti), drunk 46% of the water intake of sheep in T4 and thereby saved 54% more water or 60 liters of water/100 sheep which could serve 119 additional sheeThe results of the study showed the potential of L. leucocephala as supplement to poor quality roughages and the importance of liberal water supply along with the supplementary feeding.