Two feeding trials were conducted to investigate the growth and physiological response of sheep fed forage with and without supplementary bambara nut waste or brewers spent grain. First trial (Experiment I) assesed the effects of dry season supplementation of bambara nut waste or dry brewers spent grain on growth performance and blood metabolites (blood plasma ammonia and blood plasma urea) of West African dwarf sheep, while the Experiment 2 investigated the digestibility coefficients of bambara nut waste and dry brewers spent grain. In experiment 1, nine sheep (six females and three males) were randomly divided into three treatment groups at three sheep per treatment with one sheep serving as a replicate. The first group (control) was allowed to graze only. They were herded out at 08:00hours and brought back at 5:00hours. The second and third groups were given 500g of dry brewers spent grain or bambara nut waste at 8;00hours and at 11:00 hours,, thereafter they grazed for the rest of the day. Feed intake and body weights of the animals were recorded. The animals were allowed a pre-experimental period of 3weeks while the feeding trial itself lasted for ten weeks (December – February). At 3 weeks blood was collected from the animals for 4 days to determine the blood metabolites. In experiment 2, six sheep (four females and two males) were allowed a preliminary period of 14days, followed by7days faecal collection. They were randomly divided into two groups (treatments) of three sheep per treatment with one sheep serving as a replicate. One group was fed dry Brewers spent grain and the other group fed bambara nut waste. Experiment 1 was carried out using a completely randomized design (CRD). The supplement intake for the first experiment, the cost implication of using the two supplements, the proximate composition, nutrient intake for the second experiment and the digestibility coefficients were compared using t-test. In experiment 1 there were no significant (P>0.05) differences between the two supplements in dry matter, ash, ether extract and nitrogen- free extract while significant (P<0.05) differences existed between the two supplements in crude protein, crude fibre and gross energy contents. Sheep on treatments 2 and 3 had similar (P > 0.05) average final body weight, average daily weight gain, average body weight change, blood plasma ammonia concentration, blood plasma urea concentration and cost implication of feeding the two supplements, which were significantly P < 0.05) higher than those of treatment 1while sheep on treatment 3 had higher (P<0.05), feed intake treatment 1,t had the lowest. In experiment 2 results showed that while there were significant (P<0.05) differences between the two supplements in the intake of dry matter, crude protein, ether extract and nitrogen- free extract, there were no significant (P>0.05) differences between the two supplements in apparent dry matter nutrients digestibility coefficients. Based on the results obtained this present study, any of the supplements can be used in dry season feeding of sheep for improved growth performance of sheep.


The need to produce food especially animal protein to feed the ever increasing human population is a major problem in developing countries. Livestock account for one third of Nigeria’s agricultural GDP, providing income, employment, food, fiber, manure and transport. They are also a major source of government revenue (Babatunde, 1998). Livestock especially ruminants, are the most efficient users of uncultivated land and can contribute substantially to crop production. Proteins are very essential for the continued existence of man and there is a strong agreement that animal protein products such as meat, egg and milk etc are very crucial to man. This is because of the ability of these products to furnish excellent balance of essential amino acids necessary for normal growth and development. The proteins of animal origin are good sources of lysine and sulphur amino acids, which are low in proteins of plant origin (Omole, 1991). The demand for animal protein in the tropics, for example, Nigeria has been on the increase because of the rise in human population within the region.

Intake of animal protein at present is 4.82g/head/day (Tewe, 1999) as against a minimum required 35g recommended by Food and Agricultural Organization (F.A.O.) (Tewe, 1999). In Europe the actual average consumptions is put at 45g/head/day and in North America it is 70g/head/day (Tewe, 1999). The task facing any animal scientist in Nigeria is to increase the production of livestock products to make animal products available to our people especially the rural populace.

Maynard and Loosli (2002), noted that it is important to recognize that ruminants increase the supply of food for humans by consuming materials that otherwise could contribute little or nothing to feeding people. These include forages from rangelands, plant by-products and crop residues from which humans are unable to derive any useful energy. Nutrition is by far the most important environmental factor affecting livestock production and feed cost represents 75% or more of the total cost of animal production (Cordiez et al., 2001). Good nutrition is required if healthy animals are to give maximum yield of meat and milk. Well nourished animals are better able to withstand the incidence of diseases which may claim up to 50% of the flock (Devandra, 2003).

Nutrition plays a major role in the overall production, health and wellbeing of sheep flock in particular and animals in general. This implies that sheep producers should consider nutrition management a top priority. According to Stevens (2009), nutrient requirement of sheep varies with difference in age, body weight and stage of production. Insufficient energy limits the performance of sheep probably more than other nutritional deficiencies. An energy deficiency may result from inadequate amount of feed or from feeds (generally forages) that do not contain enough protein to “unlock” the energy in the feedstuff. In sheep rations, the amount of protein is more important than quality of protein. Sheep are 26% more efficient than cattle in converting pastures and forages into marketable products (Outhouse et al., 2010). Thus, sheep becomes more attractive economically as grain production cost rises. Forages supply approximately 80% of the yearly nutrient requirement of sheep. During the grazing season sheep are able to meet other nutrient requirement from pasture, salt and mineral supplement. Practically, all tropical sheep are maintained on unimproved grazing. They are grazed extensively often together with cattle and/or goats and in some more arid areas they are sometimes grazed together with camels. Occasionally, they are tethered on the roadside or managed indoors and fed cut forage. The sheep grazes the pasture herbage down to the soil level aided.....

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