Growth rates of fat-tailed sheep tethered or free on range compared to free in a Leucaena leucocephala pasture
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Dry season average daily liveweight gains of castrated, growing Landim fat-tailed sheep tethered on native grass (TR) or free-ranged in a cultivated pasture with a Leucaena leucocephala over-story (FL) were compared to sheep free-ranged on native grass (FR). During the year with 591 mm rainfall, growth rates (g/day) were 15.2, 37.8 and 25.8 for the respective treatments. During the year with 780 mm rainfall, growth rates were 17.0, 89.8 and 39.5 for the respective treatments. High rainfall versus low rainfall year differences in growth rate were not as large for TR animals (12% greater for high rainfall) compared to FR (53% greater) or FL (138% greater). The trial indicated that tethering fat-tailed sheep, thus limiting grazing selectivity, decreased growth rate compared to untethered animals. It also indicated that sheep with both greater herbaceous biomass and high crude protein leaves (from L. leucocephala) to select from had higher growth rate compared to animals in mixed cattle/sheep herds on native pasture.
Livestock Research for Rural Development
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Nguluve, D., & Muir, J. P.
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