Two trials were conducted to investigate the use of dates and date pits in broiler rations. The objectives of Trial 1 were to re-examine the effect of using date pits in broiler finisher diets on growth performance, and to determine if the positive effect on broiler weight gain was due to high levels of added fat in the diet or to date pits per se. In Trial 1, 160 commercial broiler chicks, 21 days old, were divided randomly into rearing pens, each housing 10 chicks. The experimental treatments consisted of four different diets with four replicates each (40 chicks/treatment). The diets were isonitrogenous (20% CP) and isocaloric (3.2 Mcal/kg). In Diet 1 (Control-A) no date pits were added. In Diet 2 (Control-B) no date pits were added, but cellulose was added as a filler, and the level of corn oil was 8.9%. In Diet 3 date pits were added as 10% of the diet and oil was 8.9%. In Diet 4 date pits treated with sulfuric acid were added as 10% of the diet and oil was 8.9%. The diets were fed on an ad libitum basis up to 6 weeks of age. During week five, date pits added to Diets 3 and 4 significantly (P < 0.05) improved the body weight of chicks, compared to those chicks fed the control diets. Total body weight gain of chicks fed Diet 3 was significantly different from those receiving Diets 1 and 2. The addition of treated date pits to the finishing ration (Diet 4) significantly improved the efficiency of feed utilization of birds fed this diet compared to chicks fed Diet 2. The objective of Trial 2 was to study the effect of date pits, whole dates and date fruit in broiler-starter rations on growth performance. In Trial 2, 1 day-old chicks were fed four different diets. Each diet was fed to four replicate groups of 10 chicks each. Diet 1 (Control) was a corn-soybean starter diet; Diets 2, 3 and 4 were corn-soybean diets containing 8% date pits, 10% whole dates and 10% date fruit, respectively. The addition of date pits and date fruit to the diets significantly improved the body weight of chicks fed these diets compared to chicks fed the control diet, after the first 2 weeks of the trial. At week 1, body weight gain of chicks receiving Diets 2 and 4 was significantly higher than that of chicks receiving the control diet. After 4 weeks, total body weight gain of all chicks was not significantly different. Similar trends were observed regarding the effect of dietary treatments on the efficiency of feed utilization (feed/gain); that is, no significant effects were observed.
- Date pits
- Growth performance
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Engineering
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Waste Management and Disposal