Urea Treatment and Ensiling Period Effects on Physico-Chemical Value of Rice Straw and Performance of Kano Brown Buck
Feed cost accounts about 50 – 80% of the total cost of animal production and its well-known fact that the shortage of feed in terms of quality and quantity during the dry season remains the, or among the most critical barriers facing animal agriculture in northern Nigeria and beyond. A three- month experiment was conducted at the teaching and research farm of the Department of Animal Health and Husbandry, Audu Bako College of Agriculture Danbatta, to determine the ensiling period effect(14, 28 and 42-day) and urea treatment levels (0%,2%,4% and 6%) on physico-chemical parameters of rice straw residue and its impact on performance of Kano brown bucks. The experiment was laid in a completely randomised designed (CRD) arranged in a 3x4x4 factorial experiment. Four experimental animal groups replicated thrice were offered the experimental diets for a period of 30-day feeding trial. SAS software package was used for the data analysis and least significant difference (LSD) technique was used to separate the means. The results showed that 2% urea inclusion level significantly (P<0.05) improved the physical properties(colour, odour, mouldness and temperature) and with regard to the chemical composition, CP content significantly increased at 42-day ensiling period (12.65%) and 6% urea treatment levels (13.18%), yet, the overall finding indicated that 2% urea inclusion levels yielded the best result as reflected in the liveweight gain and its therefore, 2% urea inclusion levels and 28-day ensiling period is recommended and in concluding, the research finding proved that urea above 5% level of inclusion in feed of ruminant is absolutely toxic.