Effect of Substitution of Barley by Whole Dates on Performance and Digestion of Awassi Lambs
Abstract: To evaluate the suitability of whole dates as an alternative feed for sheep, 0 (control), 5, 10 and 20% of the concentrate in the diets of Awassi lambs were replaced with discarded dates. The daily feed intake (FI), average daily weight gain (ADG) and feed efficiency of the lambs were determined. The nutritive value and digestibility coefficients of each experimental diets were also determined, including the percent of dry matter (DM), organic matter (OM), crude protein (CP), ether extract (EE) and crude fiber (CF). The ADG of the lambs ranged between 202 and 255 g/day. The ADG and feed intake were highest in lambs fed 10 and 5% discarded dates respectively and lowest in lambs fed the control diet. Lambs fed 20% discarded dates showed intermediate ADG and feed intake values (P<0.05). The results showed that dry matter digestibility and organic matter digestibility not significantly different (P>0.05), while crude protein digestibility increased significantly (P<0.05) in the diet containing 20, 10 and 5% discarded dates as compared with control diet, while the digestibility of CF were increased in treatment diets compare with control diet, the digestibility of EE was significantly (P<0.05) higher in the control diet. These results indicated that inclusion of 10% discarded dates as an alternative feed in lamb diets can reduce production costs and increased the efficient utilization of existing resources.Keywords: Discarded dates, performance, digestibility, nutritive value, lambs
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