In the study area, sheep flocks are managed under traditional extensive systems with no or minimal inputs and improved technologies, which results in low productivity. The available natural pasture lands are overloaded with livestock beyond optimum carrying capacity that has resulted in overgrazing and land degradation. This indicates the critical need of supplemental feed during feed-deficient period. The objective of the research was assessment of productive performance through on-station feedlot and natural pasture grazing effect on weight gain and carcass yield characteristics evaluation. The average daily weight gain (ADG), total body weight change and final body weights of supplemented groups significantly higher than (p < 0.05) non-supplemented groups. Hence, supplemented and non-supplemented Awassi crossbreds had higher daily weight gain and followed by supplemented Wollo highland group. Between genotypes, there is significant difference (p < 0.05) of rib-eye area, empty body weight, hot and cold carcass weight and cold carcass dressing percentage. Conversely, Wollo highland sheep has exhibited compensatory growth rate than others. Awassi crossbred lambs has higher weight gain and faster growth performance followed by Washera crossbred one. Therefore, local breed productive performance improvement practices have to continue and need adjustment of breeding strategies with a definite breeding plan.
Part of the book: Sheep Farming