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Trop Anim Health Prod. 2014 Apr;46(4):593-602. doi: 10.1007/s11250-013-0532-y. Epub 2014 Jan 10.

Feed intake, digestibility, weight gain, and slaughter characteristics influenced by genetic percentage of Boer in goats and Dorper in sheep in the central highlands of Ethiopia.

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  • 1Sirinka Agricultural Research Center, Sirinka, Ethiopia.


The objective of this experiment was to compare the feed intake, digestibility, growth performance, and slaughter characteristics of local genotypes of small ruminants in the central highlands of Ethiopia with Boer goat (B) and Dorper sheep (D) blood levels of 0%, 25%, and 50%. Male goats (27; 6-9 months of age) and sheep (27; 3-5 months) were housed individually in confinement during 90-day experiments. Grass hay (6% crude protein and 64% or 67% neutral detergent fiber) was consumed ad libitum together with concentrate (46% noug seed cake, 28% wheat bran, 24% sorghum grain, and 2% salt) supplemented at 2 % of their body weight. Initial body weight was 18.1, 20.8, and 24.9 kg for Local, 25% B, and 50% B, respectively, and 14.8, 20.3, and 17.9 kg for Local, 25% D, and 50% D, respectively. Total dry matter (DM) intake by goats ranked Local < 25% B < 50% B, and hay intake was greatest for 50% B. Intake of hay and total DM by sheep ranked Local < 50% D < 25% D. Average daily gain by goats was greatest for 50% B and by sheep was least for Local. Empty body weight of goats at slaughter and carcass weights ranked Local < 25% B < 50% B. Body and carcass weights of sheep were lowest for Local. In addition to the difference between 25% B and Local goats, these results clearly show potential for greater meat yield with the 50% than 25% level of B. The findings also depict considerable opportunity to increase meat production by crossbreeding with D, although greater benefit was not realized with 50% than 25% D.

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