Oladapo Ayokunle Fasae, I.F. Adu, A.B.J. Aina


The recent surge in the production of cassava and maize in Nigeria has generated a surplus of leaves which if adequately utilized could alleviate the feed shortage problem encountered by smallholder in sheep production as a result of seasonal reduction in feed supply and reduced pasture quality. An experiment was conducted with West African Dwarf yearling rams to investigate the feeding value of defoliated cassava leaves (CL) and maize leaves (ML) at different ratios (CL/ML) in the diets; 100:0 (solely ML); 25: 75; 50: 50; 75: 25; and 0:100 (solely CL). The experiment that lasted for 105 days involved twenty (20) rams in a completely randomized design used to evaluate the dry matter (DM) intake, weight gain, nutrient digestibility and nitrogen utilization as well as the effect of the diets on the haematological profile of the rams. Results showed that DM intake and digestibility of nutrients were similar in the mixed forage diets and significantly (P<0.05) higher than that of the sole forage diets of cassava and maize. Live weight gain (g/day) peaked at the ratio 75%CL/25%ML diet with rams fed sole forage diets having significantly lower gain in weight. The intake of the CP increased significantly as the component of CL in the diet increased. The N balance (g/day) and retention (%) were also highest in the mixed forage diets and lowest in the solely ML diets. Blood parameters monitored were not affected by the experimental diets. It was concluded that DM intake, weight gain, nutrient digestibility and nitrogen utilization of sheep can be enhanced by feeding 75:25 (CL/ML) in the diet.


Cassava leaves; Digestibility; Maize leaves; Sheep; Smallholder; Weight gain

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