ISSN: 0041-3216 (Online), 0041-3216 (Print)
Volume 76 Number 2
Effects of levels of cocoa pod husk and NaOH-treated corn cob on the reproductive performance of Djallonké sheep. (131)
Fifty gimmers of the Djallonké breed of sheep ranging in body weight from 5 to 13 kg were allotted in equal numbers to five diets containing respectively, 0, 150, 300, 450, and 600 g kg-1 cocoa pod husk (CPH) and fed for 150 days. The diets also contained 5% NaOH-treated corn cob (0, 150, 300, 450, and 600 g kg-1) replacing equal amounts of CPH. Enough feed and water to last each day were supplied once each day at 0800 h (local time). After the 150-day individual feeding phase, animals belonging to the same dietary treatment were group-fed the same diets as in the individual feeding phase, and a service ram introduced to them. Each ram had its brisket painted to aid in oestrus detection. Each gimmer was bled once every seven days and plasma progesterone determined. In addition, two gimmers per treatment were bled daily for 53 days before rams were introduced (during the 150-day individual feeding phase) in order to study the pattern of the oestrous cycle. Dietary treatment had no significant (P > 0.05) effect on the reproductive parameters studied apart from the birth weight of lambs. The oestrous cycle length averaged 17.2 ± 0.44 days and peak progesterone level (8.0 ± 0.84 nmol L-1) was attained on day 14 of the cycle. Progesterone profiles during pregnancy were similar for all animals irrespective of dietary treatment reaching a peak between days 112 and 119 (18.2-23.3 nmol L-1) becoming negligible by day 154.
Keywords: Djallonké sheep; Cocoa pod husk; Corn cob: Reproductive performance