This work comprised four phases which were: 1. Fabrication of the steel mould. 2. Formulation of the mixture and moulding of the mixed components into blocks. 3. Physical testing of the blocks to determine their hardness and shearing properties. 4. Feeding trial using sorghum stover as basal diet and different types of graded level of molasses - urea blocks as supplement in feeding Yankasa yearling rams. Three types of molasses-urea blocks which contained maize offal, rice bran or guinea corn spent grain as filler at 43% inclusion rate with each type containing graded levels of fertilizer grade urea at inclusion rates of 5%, 10% and 15% were made. The amounts of molasses in the block were 3 6%, 31% and 26% for the 5, 10 and 15% urea blocks respectively. Carbide oxide and cement were the binding agents added together in the block at the rate of 3% and 6% respectively. Potash, common salt, bone meal and vitamins were also added to form a total of 7% of the block mixture. Forty five yearling Yankasa rams weighing between 13.0kg and 27.0kg were balanced for weight into 9 groups of 5 animals per group. The animals were fed individually at 09 hours every day with 500g of chopped sorghum stover. Each animal was supplemented with the appropriate molasses - urea block that corresponded with the group it belonged to as follows: Group 1: 5% urea maize offal block Group 2: 10% urea maize offal block Group 3: 15% urea maize offal block Group 4: 5% urea rice bran block Group 5: 10% urea rice bran block Group 6: 15% urea rice bran block Group 7: 5% urea guinea corn spent grain block Group 8: 10% urea guinea corn spent grain block Group 9: 15% urea guinea corn spent grain block The feeding trial was for a total of 84 days, including the first 21 days for adjustment. The left over of the stover and the remaining molasses-urea blocks were weighed daily before the day's feeding so as to determine the previous day's intake. Water was provided ad-libitum. The animals were weighed weekly before the day's feeding in order to determine live weight changes. The result of the organic matter digestibility shows that for the maize offal block and the guinea corn spent grain block, the lowest digestibility was at 15% and highest at 5% urea levels. The reverse was true of the rice bran blocks. For the 5% and 15% urea levels, the digestibilities of maize offal blocks were highest while those of the rice bran blocks were least. At 10% urea level, the highest digestibility was obtained for guinea corn spent grain block. Generally, the digestibilities of rice bran blocks were lowest (Table 4.1). Tables 4,2 and 4.3 show that the higher the level of molasses inclusion, the softer the blocks to cut. For any given molasses level, maize offal produced the hardest block while rice bran blocks were softest. The intake of sorghum stover was significantly (P<0.05) influenced by the type of block. At 5% urea level, the intake of stover was higher significantly (P<0.05) in the group supplemented with maize offal block than in those supplemented with guinea corn spent grain block. At 10% and 15% urea levels, the stover intake by the group supplemented with maize offal block was significantly (P<0.05) higher than that supplemented with rice bran block. The daily stover intake by the rams was between 320.Og and 342,2g and this constituted between 76.3% and 38.4% of the total dry matter intake. Increasing the level of urea in the block did not significantly influence stover intake. The response of the rams to the various types of blocks was good. They reached a maximum intake in the 6th week after the initial adjustment period of 3 weeks. For each type of block, the higher the urea content, the lower the intake of the supplementing block. The intake of 5% urea maize offal block was 108.4% and 256.3% higher than the intakes of 10% and 15% urea maize offal blocks respectively. The intake of 10% urea rice bran block was significantly (P<0.05) less (58.5%) and higher (29.7%) than of 5% and 15% urea rice bran block respectively. The pattern for the guinea corn spent grain block was similar to the other two types. Within urea levels, the intake of maize offal block was significantly (P<0.05) higher than for either rice bran block or guinea corn spent grain block. At 5% urea level, the intake of maize offal block was 55.9% and 88.4% higher than of the rice bran and guinea corn spent grain blocks respectively. The intake of 10% urea maize offal block was 18.6% higher than that of rice bran block while that of guinea corn spent grain block was 33.8% lower than the former at the same urea level. The intake of 15% urea guinea corn spent grain block was less than those of maize offal and rice bran blocks by 48.2% and 64.8% respectively. The intakes of 5%, 10% and 15% urea maize offal blocks were 2.6%, 1.5% and 0.8% of their liveweights respectively while the corresponding values for rice bran blocks were 1.7%, 1.0% and 0.9% respectively. As for the guinea corn spent grain blocks, at 5% urea level, intake was 1.5% but 1.1% and 0.6% of the liveweight for 10% and 15% urea levels respectively. The only group of rams which gained weight in the course of the experiment were those supplemented with 5% urea maize offal block and the daily gain was 2.19g. All other groups of animals lost weight within the range of - 118.9 to -392.6g daily. The feed conversion of 5% urea maize offal block was significantly (P<0.05) higher than that of guinea corn spent grain block. Except for the conversion ratio of the 5% urea maize offal block which was positive (0.0438) those for the other blocks were negative (Table 4.5).
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