This experiment was conducted to assess the rumen metabolites and thermo-physiological response of West African Dwarf (WAD) sheep fed ficus foliage with differently processed breadfruit meals. Twenty (20) healthy West African Dwarf sheep with average weight of 6.00+0.55kg and aged approximately 7months were randomly allotted to four (4) dietary treatments with five (5) animals per treatment in a completely randomized design. The diets compared were A (50% unpeeled raw breadfruit meal + 20% ficus foliage + 30% concentrate diet), B (50% peeled raw breadfruit meal +20% ficus foliage + 30% concentrate diet), C (50% unpeeled soaked breadfruit meal +20% ficus foliage + 30% concentrate diet) and D (50% unpeeled boiled breadfruit meal +20% ficus foliage +30% concentrate diet). The results obtained showed that the rumen temperature (41.68 0C), rumen ammonia nitrogen (NH3-N) concentration (70.23mg/100ml), total volatile fatty acids (72.03mmol/liter), acetic acid (46.65%), respiratory rate (16.23 breaths/mintues), pulse rate (80.07 beats/min) and urea (14.92 mg/dl) were significantly (P<0.05) best with animals on diet A than those on diets B, C and D. Animals on diet B had the highest significant (P<0.05) values in terms of rumen pH (6.60), propionic acid (25.02%), butyric acid (9.62%), total protein (8.08g/dl), glucose (64.01mg/dl), sodium (136.03mmol), potassium concentration (5.44mmol/l) and phosphorus (7.34mg/dl). Significant (P>0.05) difference did not exist between animals on treatment diets with regards to rectal temperature and serum calcium levels. It was therefore concluded that 50% peeled raw breadfruit meal + 20% ficus foliage + 30% concentrate diet improved rumen metabolites and thermo-physiological response of West African dwarf sheep.
Keywords: Breadfruit, ficus foliage, rumen, thermo-physiology response and sheep.
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