Effect of feeding different levels of discarded date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) on digestibility, milk yield, and composition in Damani sheep


Poor quality feed and lack of feed resource conservation in Pakistan are the major constraints influencing livestock production systems in the country. In the current study, we endeavored to ascertain the most favorable utilization of discarded date palm in sheep nutrition. Sixteen multiparous Damani sheep (average weight = 26 Kg) in the 2nd month of lactation were randomly distributed into four equal groups i.e., A, B, C, and D. They were fed with experimental rations supplemented with 0%, 10%, 20%, and 30% discarded date palm on dry matter (DM) basis, respectively, to investigate its impact on feed intake, digestibility coefficient, milk yield, and composition. The dry matter intake (DMI) significantly increased (P < 0.05) in groups C and D. Significant differences in dry matter digestibility (DMD) were noted among groups with mean values 50.2%, 56.4%, 65.2%, and 72.2%, respectively. Daily milk yield recorded for the groups was 842.00, 854.50, 921.00, and 960.00 (ml/day), respectively, showing a significant increase in groups C and D. However, investigating the mineral profile of milk, only calcium (Ca) and copper (Cu) were significantly (P < 0.05) increased in dates fed groups. In conclusion, significant utilization of discarded date palm can be achieved through incorporation of these wastes in small ruminant rations to get significant increases in DMI, DMD, and milk yield (MY), calcium (Ca) and copper (Cu) levels of milk.

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The authors gratefully acknowledge Government Livestock and Dairy Development Department, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, for providing experimental animals for this study.

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Correspondence to Haq Amanullah.

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Sheep feces were collected in duplicate, properly thawed, and mixed for determination of dry matter (DM), ash, crude protein (CP), ether extract (EE), crude fiber (CF), nitrogen-free extract (NFE), and mineral content according to standard protocol of Association of Official Analytical Chemists.

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Iqbal, N., Khan, M.T., Amanullah, H. et al. Effect of feeding different levels of discarded date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) on digestibility, milk yield, and composition in Damani sheep. Trop Anim Health Prod 51, 2181–2186 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11250-019-01919-w

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  • Date palm
  • Digestibility
  • Feed
  • Milk yield