Growth performance and blood parameters of West African dwarf rams fed dried Ficus thonningii foliage as supplement to high quality cassava peel
The study aimed to determine the response of West African dwarf (WAD) rams to dried Ficus thonningii (DFT) foliage as supplement to high quality cassava peel (HQCP). A feeding trial was conducted with 20 WAD rams assigned to four dietary treatments. Treatments consisted of HQCP as a sole diet offered ad libitum (T1) or supplemented with DFT foliage at 20(T2), 40(T3), and 60 per cent(T4). Feed intake and apparent digestibility coefficients of dry matter, crude protein, ether extracts, neutral detergent fibre, and acid detergent fibre were highest (P < 0.05) in rams fed 60 per cent DFT foliage and least for those fed the control diet. Rams fed the diet with DFT foliage gained weight while those in the control group lost weight. The highest gain was recorded in rams with 60 per cent of DFT foliage in the diet (42.38 g/day). The values for blood parameters were high in rams fed 60 per cent DFT foliage: 5.00 per cent, 6.15 g/dl, and 2.80 g/dl for monocyte, total protein, and globulin, respectively. These values for blood parameters except lymphocyte were within the normal range for healthy sheep production. The study concluded that DFT foliage fed up to the 60 per cent level with HQCP improved the total dry matter intake, nutrient digestibility, body weight, and blood parameters of the WAD rams. However the low lymphocyte count can be improved by giving the WAD rams the right treatment.