Nutrient utilization and growth performance of crossbred heifers fed on fodder-based complete diet



A complete diet (mast) was formulated using locally available crop residue (sorghum straw) and leguminous forage (sunhernp hay) as roughage source and processed into mash. This complete diet was compared with a conventional diet consisting of concentrate mixture and chopped sorghum straw fed separately in l80-day growth-cum-digestion experiments (once at the middle and the other at the end of the experiments) by feeding to 12 crossbred heifers (6 in each group). Growth performance, feed efficiency and nutrient utilization of these rations were assessed. Voluntary intake of dry matter (p<0.05) and Water (P<0.01) was higher with complete diet than with the conventional diet. There was no significant difference in the digestibilities of all nutrients between the two diets irrespective of the stages of growth. However, the nitrogen-free extract digestibility was significantly (P<0.05) higher at stage 2. Though the digestible crude protein and total digestible nutrient (TDN) contents were lower than the recommended levels in both the experimental diets, all the experimental animals could meet the TDN requirements by way of increased drymatter intake. The average daily gain was significantly higer on complete diet 0(P<0_05) and in stage 1 (P<0.01).The DM intake/kg live weight gain and Cost offeed/kg live weight gain were significantly (P<0.01) higher in stage 2. The cost of feed/kg live weight gain was 15 % lower on complete diet than the conventional diet suggesting that low grade roughages can be better utilized by incorporating in complete diet where
presence of leguminous hay reduced the feeding cost.

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