Assessment of small ruminant production systems and on-farm evaluation of urea treated wheat straw and concentrate feeding on sheep body weight change in Burie Woreda, West Gojjam
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Abebe, Y. 2010. Assessment of small ruminant production systems and on-farm evaluation of urea treated wheat straw and concentrate feeding on sheep body weight change in Burie Woreda, West Gojjam. Haramaya (Ethiopia): Haramaya University.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/792
Assessment of the small ruminants production systems was conducted in four selected representative rural kebeles, namely, Woheni Durebetie, Woyenema Ambaye, Denbun and Boko Tabo in Burie Woreda to assess the farmers’ traditional small ruminants management practices, to identify and prioritize the constraints of the small ruminants production systems. The study was carried out through informal and formal surveys in the selected kebeles. The farmers interviewed in the informal survey were selected purposively and for the formal survey, by systematic random sampling method. In addition, sheep/ goat flocks in the grazing fields were selected randomly and body weight (BW) (using hanging scale), sex and age (by dentition) of the animals were measured and recorded. Farmers in the study area rear sheep for two main purposes, for cash income and home slaughter on festivals. On average, one household had 3.7±2.46 heads of sheep (n = 127). There were two sheep breeds in the study kebeles, Washera and Horro. The mean body weight of sheep in the flock was 21.6±9.34 kg (n = 1211). From the current survey result, it was evident that there were more Washera sheep (98%) in Woheni Durebetie Kebele and more Horro sheep (92%) in Boko Tabo Kebele in Burie Woreda. As farmers in the study area sell, castrate and slaughter males at a very young age, there is a possibility of inbreeding in the sheep flocks. The main feed resources for sheep in the area are natural pasture and stubble grazing. In addition, most farmers supplement salt and atella (a local beer (tela) residue) to their animals. There is feed shortage problem both during the dry and rainy seasons in the highland kebeles. Based on calculation of feed requirement for the existing livestock per household, there is a deficit of 0.7 ton DM feed per household per year in the highland kebeles. One household in the area sold on average 1.1±1.40 heads of sheep (n = 127) per year. Farmers mainly sell sheep during Easter, New Year and Christmas. Sheep from the woreda and neighbouring woredas and even neighbouring region enters into the woreda for marketing. Among the constraints identified in sheep production, sheep diseases, lack of adequate veterinary service and feed and nutrient shortage are the main ones. To bring improvements in sheep production in Burie Woreda, these constraints should be given more emphasis in research and development activities that are going to be undertaken in the area. The goat production system in the study area is similar in several respects to the sheep production system. Two on-farm feeding trials were conducted in Arebesi, Tiya Tiya and Sertekez kebeles in Burie Woreda. The objectives of the trials were to evaluate the weight change performance of the lambs when they were fed urea treated wheat straw and concentrates, to estimate the economic feasibility and to assess farmers evaluation of these feeding practices. The lambs used in the trial were all local breeds (Washera, Horro and crossbreds) and of male sex. The animals used in the grazing and wheat straw feeding trial had an initial body weight of 20.8±3.88 kg (n = 18) and 23.3±4.37 kg (n = 32) and an initial age of 8.7±1.68 months (n = 18) and 10.2±1.84 months (n = 32), respectively. The wheat straw that was used for the trial was treated with 5% urea. The following treatments were used in the trials. In the grazing trial, farmers’ traditional fattening practices and grazing plus 200 g concentrate mix supplement. In the wheat straw feeding trial, untreated wheat straw plus 200 g concentrate mix and urea treated wheat straw plus 200 g concentrate mix supplement. The concentrate mix consisted of 75% groundnut cake (150 g) and 25% wheat bran (50 g). A completely randomized design was employed for the on-farm feeding trials. At the end of the feeding trials, farmers’ were interviewed individually and in a group to evaluate the results of the feeding trials. Economic analysis was done using partial budget analysis. The trials were conducted for 86 days. The experimental animals consumed almost all the concentrate feed mix offered to them during the trials. The animals’ consumption of urea treated and untreated wheat straw was very low, 52.8 g and 7.4 g per day, respectively. There was no difference (P>0.05) on final BW and daily BW gain between the treatments in the wheat straw feeding trial. But, in the grazing trial, there was a difference (P<0.05) on final BW and daily BW gain between the treatments. The animals in the concentrate supplemented treatment and the control group had a mean final BW of 24.6 kg and 21.9 kg and a mean daily BW gain of 43.6 g and 12.9 g per day, respectively. Supplementation of groundnut cake and wheat bran mix to grazing sheep was feasible based on partial budget analysis also. Furthermore, this treatment was selected to be the best by farmers’ evaluation and has a potential for adoption by farmers. Hence, this feeding practice can be scaled up to be widely used in the study area.