The aim of this study was to evaluate the nutritional and feeding value of peanut hay (Arachis hypogaea L.) produced under tropical environment as an alternate forage resource for sheep. Peanut hay was appreciably high in crude protein [CP; 105 g/kg dry matter (DM)] and lower in neutral detergent fiber (NDF; 466 g/kg DM). Moreover, peanut hay was rich in Ca (12 g/kg DM) and P (1.7 g/kg DM). A feeding trial was conducted to investigate the effect of substituting wheat straw with peanut hay on nutrient intake, digestibility, and N utilization. Four adult Ramghani (Kaghani x Rambouillet) wethers (60 +/- 2.5 kg body weight) were randomly assigned to the four dietary treatments according to a 4 x 4 Latin square design. The four rations were formulated on isonitrogenous and isocaloric bases and differed in the proportion (in grams per kilogram DM) of wheat straw/peanut hay, i.e., 700:0, 460:240, 240:460, and 0:700. The replacement of wheat straw with peanut hay increased the intakes of DM (P <0.001), NDF (P <0.01), and N (P <0.001). Moreover, apparent in vivo digestibility of DM, NDF, and CP increased (P <0.001) with the increasing proportion of peanut hay in the ration. Nitrogen retention in the body increased (P <0.01; 3.2 to 8.1 g/day) with the replacement of wheat straw with peanut hay. These findings showed that substitution of wheat straw with peanut hay can improve DM and nutrients intake, digestibility, and N retention in sheep.
- detergent fiber