F. ADU and A. M. ADAMU
National Animal Producation Research Institute, P.M.B. 1096, Shika, Nigera.
Trials were carried out on signal, buffel and guinea grass hays using groups of four, 2 to 3 year-old, local Yankasa rams to determine their nutritive value.
The crude protein content of the hays ranged between 3 and 5%. Although dry matter intakes of 46 to 58g per kg W0.75 were considered adequate to meet maintenance requirements, nutrient digestion coefficients were generally low. The low crude fibre digestion coefficient in particular, might partially be due to the low crude protein content of the hays and to a high rate of saliva flow commonly associated with poor quality feeds.
All hays gave a negative nitrogen balance. Hay as the only source of energy and protein provided about half of the animal's requirement for maintenance.
The practical significance of the results was discussed in relation to hay quality intake and utilisation. It is concluded that further pasture evaluation and improvement studies are needed to ensure increased animal production in Nigeria.