Aims: Effects of crushed date pits (DP) on growth performance, carcass traits and nutrient digestibility were studied on forty Baladi goat kids.
Methodology: All kids were male with an average body weight of 20 kg (S.D. = 0.27) at the beginning of the experiment. Animals were randomly divided into four groups of 10 kids each. Kids in each group received corn- soybean meal (SBM) total mixed rations (TMR). Rations were incorporated with DP at levels 0, 15, 30 and 45%, in the control and treatments from 2 to 4, respectively. All rations were isonitrogenous and isoenergetic. The growth experiment lasted 120 days. In the following week, 4 kids from each treatment were slaughtered.
Results: Kids fed DP at all levels consumed more (P<0.05) feed (0.81, 0.92, 0.91 and 0.92 kg for kids treatments one to four, respectively) but gained less (P<0.05) weight compared to those fed the control diet (33,117, 119,and 116 g/ day for treatments on to four, respectively). This same trend was found for the feed conversion (FC), carcass weight and dressing percentages. Feeding DP had no effects on external organs (hide, head and feet) (P=0.32) and thoracic organs (heart and lungs, HL) (P=0.36) and liver (P=0.45) weights when expressed as percent of empty body weight (EBW). Similarly, DP in kids' rations had no effects on carcass cuts: neck (P=0.39), shoulder (P=0.56), loin (P = 0.29) and legs (P = 0.51) average weights. However, DP decreased (P< 0.05) the abdomen fat of kids. Nutrients digestibility were depressed (P< 0.05) by DP feeding. For example, DM digestibility of control ration reduced from 71.1 to an average of 68.8%in rations incorporated with DP.
Conclusions: Inclusion of DP reduced the cost of rations by an average value of 11%. However, It can be concluded that feeding DP to fattening kids had no advantages in most of the tested parameters. Improving the nutritive value of DP through chemical or biological treatments could assure its value as a nonconventional feed ingredient in ruminant rations.