DETERMINATION OF WEIGHT CHANGES IN SHEEP AND GOATS FED SUPPLEMENTAL YAM PEELS AND RAISED SEMI-INTENSIVELY IN TEACHING AND RESEARCH FARM
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Ten (10) goats were used in 10 weeks field experiment to determine the weight changes in goats and sheep under a semi-intensive system of management. The goats and sheep were grouped into two treatments; five groups each for both goats and sheep respectively and each treatment were replicated five times in a complete randomized design. The goats were allowed to graze for about 4-6 hours daily, while they were fed with 9000g of yam peels as supplement and water was supplied ad-libitum. The weight of the animals were taking weekly for a period of ten weeks . The result shows no significant difference (p>0.05) in the body weight of goats throughout the experimental period. However, shows significant (p<0.05) in sheep at 3rd, 4th and 8th week of the experiments. It is recommended that animals be given supplementary feedings during the dry season periods of the year within the study area.
The size and age of sheep and goats are normally related to their productivity (Solomon and Kassahun, 2009). Larger sized animals usually produce more meat than smaller animals. Size is commonly represented by weight, though other linear measurements can be used. The size of an animal should be considered in relation to its age allowing for evaluation of growth performance used as a component in deciding which animals to buy, sell, cull or mate. Body weight is measured not only to evaluate carcass yield (Afolayan et al., 2006) and condition of the animal as a selection criterion but also to determine suitable medication dosage during health care and required feed amount of the animal (Kunene et al., 2009). Goat farming has increased in the tropics and is important for economic and social livelihood of the large human population, contributing meat, milk and clothing in domestic markets (Kosgey et al., 2006).
The economic importance of goats and sheep in the livelihood of rural African people cannot be overemphasized. They play a pivotal role in the rural economy as sources of meat and milk and their processed products such as cheese, wool and hair (including monhair) and skins. Economic and environmental benefits are derived from dung (which improves soil fertility and structure) and from nutrient recycling, and also income generation (FAO, 2009). Goat production in Nigeria contributes significantly to the agrarian economy. Various factors are within the environment which dictates the performance of animals, and these factors include rainfall, temperature, relative humidity, wind movement, solar radiation. The effect of these environmental factors can mediate through reduction or increase in feed intake, weight gain, plane of nutrition, diseases, reproductive performance and feed efficiency (Imasuen and Otoikhian, 2004).
1.1 Statement of research problem
Semi-intensive system of management involves a part time grazing of animals (4 to 6 hours) after which they are supplemented with cut forages or other available feed materials to make up for the inadequate feed they get from grazing, and the energy expended during grazing can be replenished during supplementation of feed under this system of management. Also, considering the capricious nature of goats, they tend to expend more energy during grazing which could drastically affect their weight gain and subsequently their performances.
Increased influx of livestock population into Niger State due to available water bodies and feed stuff results in creating problems in the feed resources available (Adama et al, 2008)
1.2 Justification of the study
Given the limited work done on the effects of different management systems on weight gain in sheep and goats, this research on the determination of weight changes in sheep and goats raised semi-intensively is of paramount importance. This is because it will aid in generating baseline information on weight changes that will be used to advise livestock farmers within the study areas on good management practices with optimal impact on weight gain in sheep and goats which will result in high profit making for the farmer.
During the dry season of the year, there is high competition on the feedstuff available (Adama et al, 2008). This brings about a need for supplementary feeding of the animals. Dry season periods could bring about decrease in weight gain. This leads to low economic value of our livestock species. (Adama et al, 2008).
1.3 Aims and objectives of the study
The aim of the study is to determine the weight changes in sheep and goats raised semi-intensively in Teaching and Research Farm of FUT Minna.
The following are the specific objectives of the study:
i) To determine weekly body weight changes in sheep and goats raised semi-intensively.
ii) To identify whether current weight gains are adequate to help bring about improved productivity.