The effect of date-urea blocks as supplementary feeding on growth of young camels
The objective of the present trial was to evaluate the effect of incorporating date blocks in diet on growth in young camels, and in the same time, to assess the risk of toxicity due to the presence of urea in the blocks. Fifteen 3 years old camels were shared into two groups receiving in addition to alfalfa, respectively 1 kg of commercial concentrate or 1kg of date blocks containing 50% pitted dates. Daily intake was measured, and the animals were weighed, and blood sampled every 2 weeks. No significant impact on total intake and growth throughout the experiment (135 days) was observed, but the assessment of consumption index showed a better efficiency of commercial concentrate (1.89 kg/kg growth) than date block (2.33 kg/kg growth). Uremia was higher in control group receiving the commercial concentrate, but the difference was not significant, except at the 78th day of the experiment. No effect on glycemia, AST and ALT was observed. LDH was significantly higher at the end of the trial, but the values were in normal range. Date blocks could be used safely for a partial substitution of commercial concentrates.