A total of 153 unsexed day-old-quail chicks, were randomly allocated into three experimental groups (51 quail/each group). Each group consists of 3 replicates (17 quail/each replicate); three isonitrogenous and iso-energetic diets were formulated. Date pits were collected, dried and crushed as meal, then chemically analyzed. Three diets (Control, D1 and D2) were prepared. Two diets (D1and D2) were formulated to contain 2.5 and 5% crushed date pit (CDP); respectively. All the diets were fortified with a constant level of salt and vitamin-mineral premix and were supplemented with exogenous enzymes. Diets and water were offered ad-libitum to quail and feed intake was recorded daily. Body weight change was recorded weekly. Blood samples were collected at 2nd, 4th and 6th week from starting of the experiment for hematological and biochemical parameters estimation. At the end of the experiment (42 d of age) quail were slaughtered for carcass traits measurements. Liver samples were collected for estimation of hepatic expression of Growth Hormone Receptor (GHR) and Insulin Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1) genes in different experimental groups. Results revealed that quail diet supplemented with 2.5% and 5% CDP improved body weight, body weight gain, relative growth rate percentage and feed conversion rate of quail. Results of carcass traits showed that D2 (5% CDP) group had the highest significant value for dressing percentage. Results of blood showed no adverse effect of CDP inclusion in the diet of quail. The results of gene expression indicated non-significant changes in eth hepatic expression of GHR and IGF-1 in different experimental groups. From the economic point of view, our results showed that the cost of one ton of feed is reduced for D1 and D2 containing CDP. Inclusion of 5% and 2.5% CDP in quail diet were more profitable when compared with control diet. In conclusion, CDP can be satisfactory added to quail diets without negative effect on growth, health or carcass characteristics. It also reduces production costs, improves profitability, and saves the environment by preventing pollution caused by processing wastes.
Date pits, Quail, Growth rate, Carcass traits, Hematological parameters, Gene expression, Economic efficiency.