Livestock Research for Rural Development 5 (1) 1993

Citation of this paper

Studies on the use of dried poultry manure in ruminant diets in Syria

*M Hadjipanayiotou, Louay M Labban, Abd El-Rahman Kronfoleh, L Verhaeghe**, T Naigm, M Al-Wadi and M Amin.

Deir El Hajjar Research Station,
Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform, Syria (Present address:
*Agricultural Research Institute, Nicosia, Cyprus;
**FAO, Animal Production and Health Division, 00100 Rome, Italy)



Demonstration trials were carried out with lactating Shami goats, Black Syrian Mountain goats, growing Shami heifers and fattening Shami bull calves. In all four trials the control concentrate mixture (C) was compared with one containing 33% dried poultry manure (M). Goats on the M diet produced significantly more milk (621 vs 558 g/d) than those on the C diet. In the trial with dry mature Mountain goats, there were no difference between diets for initial and final body weight, but there was a significant decrease in weight gain (C 29 vs M 19 g/d) on the M diet. In the trials with growing heifers and fattening bull calves, there were no significant differences for weight gain between animals on the two diets. No disease problems were encountered from including dried poultry manure (DPM) in rations of growing cattle, lactating and dry goats or growing kids and the use of DPM reduced feeding costs in all the four trials.

KEY WORDS: Dried poultry manure, Shami cattle, Shami goats, Syrian Mountain goats, growth, milk production.



Traditionally, animal waste is applied to farmland as a fertilizer. It has been shown, however, that animal excreta, including bedding and associated materials, is more valuable as a feed nutrient than as a fertilizer (Arndt et al 1979). Indeed, the economic value of excreta as feed components in balanced diets for several classes of ruminants may be 3 to 10 times greater than their value as plant nutrients (Smith and Wheeler 1979). In both nutritional and economic terms, poultry excreta has the highest value and cattle waste the lowest (Islam and Hossain 1990). Two serious obstacles to the feeding of poultry excreta to livestock are pathogenic organisms and medicinal drugs. Research by Jakhmola et al (1988) showed that poultry waste can be rendered free of pathogens by autoclaving, fumigation and dry heat alone or in combination with formaldehyde. Furthermore, other methods of processing such as ensiling (Hadjipanayiotou 1982; Daniels et al 1983) and deep stacking (Strickler 1977) have been proposed.

It is estimated that in the Syrian Arab Republic (SAR) there are about 7 million laying hens and 70 million broilers. Efforts are being made to increase production to keep pace with the growth of the human population. Poultry production is split between the public and private sectors, with the respective poultry manure production estimated at 49 and 196 thousand tonnes dry matter per year, respectively. At each of the state GOP (General Organization for Poultry) farms there is a dryer, using diesel fuel, which can be used for drying poultry manure. The cost of drying was estimated to be about 1,200 SP (1 US$ = 42 Syrian Pounds (SP))/tonne).

Dried poultry manure (DPM) had not previously been incorporated into mixed feeds in the SAR, in spite of expressed interest in doing so to save on the importation of concentrates. Although the drying of manure results in loss of nitrogen and higher costs (Jakhmola et al 1988), emphasis was given at the beginning of the project to incorporate DPM in the diets of ruminants in view of the existence of dryers and the fact that the dry material is easy to incorporate in mixed diets.

Demonstration trials with Shami and Black Syrian Mountain goats and male and female Shami calves given a concentrate mixture with DPM were conducted in three state stations. The objective of the present paper is to report the findings of these studies.


Materials and methods

Four demonstration trials, one with lactating Shami goats, one with Black Syrian Mountain goats, one with growing Shami heifers and one with young fattening Shami bull calves were carried out.

In all demonstration trials there were two concentrate mixtures namely the control (C) (commercial concentrate mixture made by the General Organization for feeds) and the treatment (M) mixture. In the treatment concentrate mixture, 33 percent of DPM was included, and replaced all the cottonseed cake and part of barley grain. Chemical analyses of concentrate mixtures and of roughages used are given in Table 1. The main ingredients of the commercial concentrate were barley grain, cottonseed cake, wheat bran and fodder wheat. Feed residues were collected once a week. Representative feed samples were collected routinely, bulked and analysed at the end of each demonstration trial.


Lactating Shami goats: The demonstration was conducted at Karahta Shami Goat Station located 35 km from Damascus. Eighty- four lactating Shami goats at the declining stage of lactation were used. Animals were divided into two groups based on their daily milk yield and were randomly allocated either to the control (C) or the manure (M) mixture. The M concentrate mixture was composed of (g/kg) 324 barley grain, 100 fodder wheat, 200 wheat bran, 330 DPM, 30 sugar residues, 10 limestone, 5 salt and 1 vitamin-trace element mixture. Animals were housed in two adjacent pens and were group-fed concentrate and straw from separate feeding troughs. Animals were weighed at the beginning and at the end of the 50-day period. Milk yield was recorded once every fortnight. Animals had free access to water.

Table 1. Composition (g/kg DM) of the concentrate mixtures and of other feedstuffs
Concentrate mixture:          
Control (1) 918 167 80 34 59
Manure (2) 926 168 100 25 131
Manure (3) 926 166 99 24 126
Control (4) 913 162 97 32 72
Control (5) 915 168 98 37 -
Other feedstuffs:          
Straw (6) 915 38 368 21 91
Cottonseed hulls (7) 934 49 563 14 31
Barley/vetch hay (8) 889 74 ND ND ND
DPM (9) 812 250 ND ND ND

1 The control concentrate mixture used for the two goat trials
2 the M mixture used for the Karahta dairy goat trial and the
trial with fattening Shami bull calves and the one with growing heifers;
3 The M mixture used for the Sweida goat trial;
4 The C mixture for the heifers trial;
5 The C mixture used for the bull fattening trial;
6 For all trials;
7 For fattening bulls;
8 For heifers;
9 For all trials;
ND not determined.


The goat flock at the Sweida Goat Research Centre (286 heads) composed of Shami (14) and Mountain goats (116) and their crosses (156) was divided into two groups based on their age, breed/cross and sex. The two groups were randomly allocated to either the C or the M concentrate diet. The manure concentrate mixture was composed of (g/kg) 454 barley grain, 200 wheat bran, 330 DPM, 5 salt, 10 limestone and 1 vitamin-trace element mixture. Animals were housed in two adjacent houses and they were offered 660 g of concentrate and 366 g of chopped cereal straw per head daily. Feed was offered in two equal portions daily. Animals were grazed for 6 h daily on a very poor pasture. They were weighed at the beginning and at the end of the trial and once monthly during the 125-day period. The control concentrate mixture was the conventional 9 mm pellet mixture prepared by the General Organization for Feeds (GOF), whereas the treatment mixture was in mash (ground) form.


Two demonstration trials one with 22 young growing Shami heifers and one with 20 fattening Shami bull calves were conducted at Deir El-Hajjar Shami cattle station near Damascus. The Shami heifers and bull calves were divided into two uniform groups based on their age and live weight. The two groups within trials were randomly allocated to the control or the mixture containing manure. The manure concentrate mixture (trial with heifers) had the same composition as that used for Shami goats and was prepared from the same batch of basic ingredients. During the last days of the trial with bull calves, animals were offered a diet composed of 67% of the control concentrate mixture mixed with 33% dried poultry manure.

Heifers were offered a diet composed of concentrate and barley hay (1:1 ratio). Bull calves were offered in addition to concentrates, straw and cottonseed hulls from separate feed containers. The heifers and the bull calves were weighed at the beginning and at the end of the 59 and 104-day trial, respectively. Animals subjected to the two treatments were housed in two adjacent pens and had free access to water. Data collected were analysed by one way analysis of variance, and for final bodyweight initial weight was used as covariate.



Two Shami goats, one on the manure and one on the control diet, dried off well before the end of the demonstration. This was not associated with any diet effect and their data were excluded from the analyses. Performance data of the lactating goats on the two diets are given in Table 2. Goats on the manure mixture produced significantly (P<0.05) more milk and suffered less (P<0.05) weight loss. There was no difference in concentrate intake between diets and the difference in straw intake favouring the animals on the M diet was very small.

Performance data for dry mature and growing goats (Sweida State Farm) are in Table 3. There were no significant differences between diets for initial and final body weight, though there was a significantly (P=0.007) lower weight gain for goats on the M compared to those on the C diet. On the other hand, goats on the M diet were consuming somewhat less concentrate and straw than those on the C diet.


Table 2: Effect of dried poultry manure on the performance of lactating Damascus goats
  Control Manure SD
N1 of animals 41 40 -
Milk yield (g/day) 558 624 106
Initial weight (kg) 54.5 55.6 9.89
Final weight (kg) 49.7 53.0 9.30
Daily weight loss (g) 88 52 81
Feed intake (kg/day):      
Concentrate 0.94 0.94 -
Straw 0.65 0.69 -



Table 3: Performance of dry mature and growing goats offered diets with (M) or without (C) DPM (Sweida state farm) (n=138 per treatment)
  Control Manure SD
Liveweight (kg)      
Initial 28.5 28.4 6.43
Final 32.1 30.8 6.94
Daily gain (g) 29 19 19.5
Feed intake (g/day):      
Concentrate 660 600 -
Straw 366 350 -


There were no significant differences in liveweight changes between Shami heifers on the two diets (Table 4).


Table 4. Effect of dried poultry manure on the performance of growing Shami heifers (n=11 per treatment)
  Control Manure SE
Liveweight (kg)      
Initial 172 173 12.5
Final 208 206 14.6
Daily gain (g) 452 423 82
Feed intake (kg/day):      
Concentrate 2.61 2.57 -
Barley hay 2.50 2.50 -
Straw 2.54 2.55 -


In the trial with bull calves (Table 5), animals on the M diet grew slightly slower than those on the C diet, but differences were not significant.

Table 5 : Effect of dried poultry manure on the performance of fattening Shami bull-calves
  Control Manure SD
N1 of animals 9 10 -
Initial age (days) 448 372 124
Liveweight (kg)      
Initial 278 256 69.9
Final weight (kg) 371 337 73.9
Daily weight gain (g) 880 772 184
Feed intake (kg/day):      
Concentrate 5.95 6.29 -
Cottonseed hulls 1.81 1.76 -
Straw 1.45 1.44 -




In line with the data of Fontenot (1981) there were no indications of harmful effects on humans consuming, milk or milk products from animals fed poultry wastes. No disease problems were encountered from including DPM in rations of growing cattle, lactating or dry mature goats or growing kids.

In the study of Hadjipanayiotou (1984) the milk yield of Chios ewes or Shami goats receiving zero or 15 percent poultry litter was similar. On the other hand, the milk yield of the ewes and goats receiving 30 percent poultry litter was lower than that of animals on the other two diets. This is in contrast with the findings of the present study where 33 percent DPM in the mixture not only did not reduce but increased milk yield; it must be underlined however, that in the previous study the reduction in milk yield was associated with lower feed intake, not with any direct adverse effects of poultry litter on milk yield. The difference in feed intake between the two studies should be ascribed partly at least to the fact that in the present study the concentrate offered (0.95 kg/h/day) was much less than in the Cypriot studies (more than 2.0 kg/h/day).

Although there was a somewhat adverse effect of DPM feeding on growth rate, taking into consideration the current prices for concentrates (7.6 SP/kg) and DPM (3 SP/kg), the use of DPM is economically justified.

Based on the findings of the present studies it can be concluded that DPM is a valuable feed resource and its incorporation into the diets of ruminant animals will reduce feeding cost and the quantities of concentrate feeds that have to be imported. Taking into consideration that Syria imports considerable quantities of concentrates for feeding the existing livestock population, and the existence of dehydration plants, it is strongly recommended to use these plants until a more economical method of processing poultry excreta (ie: ensiling of excreta with other by-products) is accepted by the Syrian farmer.



The authors are grateful to FAO and UNDP offices in Damascus, to R Sansoucy (Senior Officer-Feed Resources), S Badawi (Chief AGON, FAO, Rome) and K Qamar (CPO-AGON) for continuous support and encouragement and to his Excellency the Minister of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform, Mr M Gabbash, for making available all necessary facilities for the implementation of this work. This work was carried out in conjunction with the Project "Greater and Improved Use of Agricultural Residues for Animal Feeding" a joint undertaking between the Government of Syria and the UNDP and FAO ((FAO/UNDP/SYR/89)



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(Received 1 April 1993)