Growth performance of grazed indigenous steers offered different feed supplements
MetadataShow full item record
Although there are many natural forages available within rangelands, their nutritional content may not be adequate to meet all the animal’s nutrient requirements. Supplementation is therefore vital to meet the animals’ nutritional demands. There is therefore need to determine response of animals to different feed supplements to guide farmers appropriately. The objective of this study therefore was to evaluate the growth performance of indigenous steers raised on a basal diet of Brachiaria spp. and Hyparrhenia rufa grasses supplemented with either cotton seed (CSC) cake, wheat bran (WB) or a combination of the two; in addition to Tithonia diversfolia. The experiment was laid in a completely randomized design consisting of 12 indigenous steers (average weight 95 kg) which were divided into four treatment groups each comprising three animals (replications). Chemical composition of the feeds and, average daily weight and height changes of the animals were determined over a period of 8 weeks. Among the basal feeds, Brachiaria spp. had higher crude protein (12.57%) than Hyparrhenia rufa (5.47%). Yet Brachiaria spp had the higher NDF (40.8%) than Hyparrhenia rufa (38.7%). Regarding the supplements, Tithonia diversifolia had the highest crude protein (28.3%), followed by cotton seed cake (23.5%) and least content was determined in wheat bran (12.8%). However, CSC had the highest NDF (39.2%), followed by Tithonia diversifolia (34.0%) and least was in wheat bran (30. 1%).indigenous steers that were supplemented with CSC and those that received a combination of CSC and WB had higher and similar live weight gains (P ≤ 0.05) compared to those that did not receive any additional supplement and those that received WB alone. Height at withers was not affected by the different diets (P > 0.05), Supplementation with 1 kg of cotton seed cake per animal per day meant a daily cost of 1000shs compared to 600 shs for the animals that were supplemented with a mixture of wheat bran and cotton seed cake. From the findings of xi This study, it is concluded that supplementing animals with a combination of CSC and other cheaper feed resources gives performance equivalent to that of supplementing with CSC alone at a cheaper cost. Farmers should therefore aim at supplementing basal diets with a combination of nutrient rich supplements and cheaper feed supplements to improve animal growth at lower costs.