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Effect of replacing concentrate feed with leaves of Oldman saltbush (Atriplex nummularia) on feed intake, weight gain, and carcass parameters of highland sheep fed on wheat straw in northern Ethiopia

Hintsa, Kidane, Berhe, Amanuel, Balehegn, Mulubrhan, Berhe, Kidane
Tropical animal health and production 2018 v.50 no.7 pp. 1435-1440
Atriplex nummularia, acid detergent fiber, carcass characteristics, crude protein, diet, dry matter intake, growth performance, leaves, liveweight gain, neutral detergent fiber, sheep, weight gain, wheat straw, Ethiopia
Atriplex nummularia (oldman saltbush) is widely planted on salt-affected land to provide a vegetative cover, which can be used as an alternative feed resource. The study was conducted to evaluate the replacement of commercial concentrate with oldman saltbush (SB) leaf on the feed intake, live weight gain, and carcass parameters of local sheep. Twenty-five sheep with an age of 6 months and weighting 14.60 ± 2.47 kg were used in randomized complete block design and distributed into five equal groups, with five animals each. The selected sheep were fed with the dietary treatments for 2 weeks for adaptation and continued until the end of the study, which lasted for 90 days. In the control treatment (SB-0), sheep were fed 100% concentrate mix, while in SB-5, SB-10, SB-15, and SB-20, 5, 10, 15, and 20% of the concentrate mix was replaced by SB, respectively. Wheat straw and water were given at ad libitum throughout the experiment period. Data on feed intake and live weight gain were recorded daily and weekly, respectively, for 90 days. Three animals from each treatment were slaughtered for carcass analysis. Atriplex nummularia leaf (Oldman saltbush) contained 92.02% dry matter (DM), 21.99% crude protein (CP), 24.77% ash, 58.27% neutral detergent fiber (NDF), and 26.56% acid detergent fiber (ADF). Dry matter intake, live weight gain, and carcass parameter were not statistically different among the treatments. Result indicated that concentrate feed can be replaced with Atriplex nummularia leaf up to 20% in sheep diet without negative effect on growth performance and carcass characteristics.