Oil supplementation improved growth and diet digestibility in goats and sheep fed fattening diet

Objective: This study evaluated the growth, digestibility and rumen fermentation between goats and sheep fed a fattening diet fortified with linseed oil.

Methods: Twelve 3 to 4 months old male goats and sheep were randomly allocated into two dietary treatment groups in a 2 (species)×2 (oil levels) factorial experiment. The treatments were: i) goats fed basal diet, ii) goats fed oil-supplemented diet, iii) sheep fed basal diet, and iv) sheep fed oil-supplemented diet. Each treatment group consisted of six animals. Animals in the basal diet group were fed with 30% alfalfa hay and 70% concentrates at a rate equivalent to 4% of their body weight. For the oil treatment group, linseed oil was added at 4% level (w:w) to the concentrate portion of the basal diet. Growth performance of the animals was determined fortnightly. Digestibility study was conducted during the final week of the feeding trial before the animals were slaughtered to obtain rumen fluid for rumen fermentation characteristics study.

Results: Sheep had higher (p<0.01) average daily weight gain (ADG) and better feed conversion ratio (FCR) than goats. Oil supplementation did not affect rumen fermentation in both species and improved ADG by about 29% and FCR by about 18% in both goats and sheep. The above enhancement is consistent with the higher dry matter and energy digestibility (p<0.05), as well as organic matter and neutral detergent fiber digestibility (p<0.01) in animals fed oil- supplemented diet. Sheep had higher total volatile fatty acid production and acetic acid proportion compared to goat.

Conclusion: The findings of this study suggested that sheep performed better than goats when fed a fattening diet and oil supplementation at the inclusion rate of 4% provides a viable option to significantly enhance growth performance and FCR in fattening sheep and goats.

Keywords: Caprine; Ovine; Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids; Growth Studies; Rumen Fermentation

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Oil supplementation improved growth and diet digestibility in goats and sheep fed fattening diet

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