Growth in the Sultanate of Oman of Small Ruminants Given Date Byproducts-Urea Multinutrient Blocks

  • El Hag, M.G. ;
  • Al-Merza, M.A. ;
  • Al Salti, B.
  • Received : 2001.01.27
  • Accepted : 2001.11.24
  • Published : 2002.05.01


This study investigated the use of multinutrient blocks (MNB) composed of 35% date syrup, 35% date syrup byproducts, 10% date fronds, 7% urea, 7% cement and 6% common salt for growing small ruminants, as partial substitute for the roughage component of the diet (Rhodes grass hay) and its effect on feedlot performance and economics of feeding. Eight growing local Omani goats and 8 sheep (each about one year old) were used in this study. Mean body weights for goats and sheep (kg), respectively were $21.1{\pm}4.5$ and $25.5{\pm}4.1$. The goats and sheep were subdivided into two sub-groups of more or less equal body weights for each species. Each sub-group in both species was either fed on 0.5 kg concentrate+ad libitum Rhodes grass hay or the same diet+restricted hay (about 0.2 kg/head/day) and ad libitum amount of MNB. Sheep significantly (p<0.05) consumed greater amounts of MNB ($36{\pm}17$g/head/day) than goats ($6{\pm}2.5$ g/head/day). Feeding of the MNB was effective in sparing about 40% of the roughage Rhodes grass hay for goats (from 240 to 140 g) and about 42% for sheep (from 252 to 146 g) or approximately 100 g/head/day for both goats and sheep. This reduction (or sparing) in the consumption of Rhodes grass hay was coupled by an improvement in daily liveweight gain (g/head/day) in both goats (from 29 to 46 by 58.6%) and sheep (from 26 to 39 by 50%) and also by an improvement in the feed conversion efficiency (g feed/g gain) of both goats (from 25 to 13.8 by 45%) and sheep (from 28.7 to 17.2 by 40%). Cost of daily consumed feeds as well as cost/kg gain (or cost of meat) were both reduced due to feeding of MNB. They were both respectively reduced by 7.5% (from 53 Baisa/day to 49) and 38% (from 1,828 Baisa/kg to 1,140). It was economically viable to feed MNBs containing date by-products and urea to small ruminants in the Sultanate of Oman.


Multinutrient Blocks;Roughage;Growth;Small Ruminants


  1. El Hag, M. G. 1995. Production of animal feeds from dates and date by-products in the Sultanate. A review. International J. Anim. Sci. (1995) 10:195-201
  2. Mikki, M. S. and S. M. AL-Taisan. 1987. Incorporation of date pulp for the manufacture of Tomato ketsup. Date Palm J. 5:215-226.
  3. Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Muscat Sultanate of Oman. 1993. Animal census. Unpublished Departmental report.
  4. Morales, A. R., M. A. Galina and G. F. W. Haenlein. 2000. Nutritional and economic effects of using non protein feed supplementation to dairy goats on low quality forage. Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Goats, France, 15-21 May 2000. pp. 145-149.
  5. Preston, T. R. 1995. Tropical Animal Feeding: A Manual for Research Workers. Animal Production and Health paper-126. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, Italy.
  6. Steel R. G. and J. H. Torrie. 1980. Principles and Procedures of Statistics. A Biometrical Approach. 2nd. Ed. McGraw Hill Book Co.Inc. New York.
  7. Hinojosa, O., A. Stemmer and A. Valle Zarate. 2000. Effect of multinutrient blocks on growing of kids at the end of the dry season in Bolivia. Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Goats, France, 15-21 May 2000. p. 173.
  8. Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. Booklet 2087. 1980. Nutrient Allowances and Composition of Feedingstuffs for Ruminants, Hmso, London.
  9. El Hag, M. G., M. A. Al-Merza and H. H. El Khanjari. 2000. Processing of Multi Nutrient Blocks (MNBs) from date byproducts and urea for feeding ruminants in the Sultanate of Oman. I-Effect of partial replacement of the concentrate dairy ration with date syrup-urea MNB on milk production, quality and economics of feeding. Unpublished Departmental research report, Ministry of Agric. and Fisheries, Muscat-Sultanate of Oman.
  10. Tilley, J. M. A. and R. A. Terry. 1963. A two-stage technique for the in vitro digestion of forage crops. J. Br. Grassl. Soc. 18:104.
  11. AOAC. 1984 . Official Methods of Analysis. 14th Ed. Association of official analytical chemists, Washington, DC.
  12. El Hag, M. G. and K. M. El Shargi. 1996. Feedlot performance and carcass characterstics of local (Dhofari) and exotic (Cashmere) goats fed on a high fiber by-products diet supplemented with fish sardines. Asian-Aus. J. Anim. Sci. 9:389-396.
  13. El Hag, M. G. and H. H. El Khanjari. 1992. Dates and sardines as potential animal feed resources. World Animal Review No. 73(FAO).
  14. El Khidir, O. A., A. M. Khalafalla and F. I. Murgos. 1989. Molasses urea blocks as an emergency diet for sheep in the Sudan. Sudan J. Anim. Prod. 2:9-17.
  15. Qi, K., C. D. Lu and F. N. Owens. 1994. Effects of sulfate supplementation on performance, acid-base balance and nutrient metabolism in Alpine kids. Small Rumin. Res. 15:9-18.

Cited by

  1. Effects of concentrate replacement by feed blocks on ruminal fermentation and microbial growth in goats and single-flow continuous-culture fermenters1 vol.87, pp.4, 2009,
  2. Nutrient utilization, ruminal fermentation, microbial nitrogen flow, microbial abundances, and methane emissions in goats fed diets including tomato and cucumber waste fruits1 vol.91, pp.2, 2013,