The effects of feeding alfalfa pulp ensiled with wasted date (Phoenix dactylifera L.) on digestibility, microbial protein synthesis and ruminal fermentation characteristics in sheep

Document Type : Original Research Article (Regular Paper)


1 Department of Animal Science, Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, Kerman, Iran.

2 Department of Animal Science, Ilam Agricultural and Natural Resources Research and Education Center, AREEO, Ilam, Iran.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of feeding alfalfa pulp ensiled with waste date (Phoenix dactylifera L.) on digestibility, microbial protein synthesis and ruminal fermentation characteristics in Kermani sheep. Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) pulps were ensiled with waste date (15% in dry matter) in buckets. After 45 days, chemical composition and pH of the silage were evaluated using four Kermani rams in a change-over design with four 21-day periods comprising of 16 days for adaptation and 5 days for sample collection. Treatments containing 4 diets: 1) control diet (without silage); 2) diet containing 10% silage; 3) diet containing 20% silage and 4) diet containing 30% silage. The results of this study showed that adding 15% waste date to alfalfa pulp during ensiling, improved silage quality and DM. The Flieg point and pH of silage were 94.26 and 3.8, respectively, with a total score quality evaluation of 19 that seemed to be a very good score. Nutrient digestibility, nitrogen (N) retention, blood parameters, urinary purine derivatives and microbial protein synthesis were not affected by treatments. The total population of Entodinium and total protozoa species were increased linearly with the increase in the level of alfalfa pulp ensiled with waste date in the diets. In conclusion, ensiling of alfalfa pulp with 15% waste date increased DM and silage quality and its feeding to sheep did not have negative effects on feed intake and nutrient digestibility. Due to the relatively low costs of alfalfa pulp and waste date, their inclusion in sheep diets can reduce the cost of feed and environmental pollution.


Main Subjects

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