Integrated Mountain Areas Research Center, Karakoram International University, Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan
Key words: Mulberry multinutrient block, feed intake, maize stover, calves, rumen ammonia.
An experiment was conducted consisting of two cattle breeds and two diets. Eight Sahiwal and eight Achai calves (6-10months age) were housed in individual pens and were offered a basal diet of maize stover ad libitum. Each of the breed groups was randomly divided in to two equal subgroups, control and treatment (4 calves/group). The control group was not given any supplement and the treatment group was given free access to mulberry multinutrient block (MMB). The control and MMB calves daily consumed 1.65 and 1.63 Kg/100Kg body weight (BWT) maize stover dry matter (DM) and 1.65 and 2.29Kg/100Kg BWT total feed DM, respectively. Statistical analysis showed that the maize stover intake was not influenced by diet (P>0.05) while total feed intake was higher (P<0.001) with MMB diet. The intake of maize stover and MMB were same in Sahiwal and Achai and did not affect by the breed (P>0.05). Achai calves consumed more (P<0.05) MMB than Sahiwal calves (9.56 vs 7.00g/Kg BWT). Mean ammonia-N in the rumen fluid of calves varied due to diet (P<0.0001) and breed (P<0.05). Rumen ammonia concentration averaged 64.12 and 148.04mg N/l on control and MMB diets, respectively and 123.59 and 94.57mg N/l in Sahiwal and Achai calves, respectively. It was concluded that MMB was effective in increasing total feed intake of maize stover based diets in the calves and was palatable also. Due to low cost of MMB (as mulberries are abundantly available in the season), feeding of MMB to ruminant livestock in Gilgit Baltistan of Pakistan is recommended.