African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6578

Full Length Research Paper

Effects of limiting frequency of free access to milk on growth and intake of holstein calves during pre- and early post-weaning period

M. C. Muya
  • M. C. Muya
  • Agricultural Research Council, Animal Production Institute, South Africa.
  • Google Scholar
. V. Nherera
  • . V. Nherera
  • Agricultural Research Council, Animal Production Institute, South Africa.
  • Google Scholar


  •  Received: 26 November 2013
  •  Accepted: 16 June 2014
  •  Published: 15 July 2014

Abstract

New born (male and female) calves (n = 26) weighing 33.3 ± 0.71 kg were used to evaluate effects of restricting frequency of free access to milk before and 2 weeks after weaning. Calves were randomly assigned at birth to 1 of 2 treatments being free access to whole milk twice daily (2X) or free access to whole milk once a day (1X). Milk and starter intakes were recorded daily, body weight (BW) was recorded weekly and metabolisable energy intake estimated. Before weaning, 2X calves had greater milk intake (8.76 L/d) and lower starter intake dry matter intake (DMI); 0.11 kg DM/d) compared to 1X calves (7.11 L/d and 0.21 kg DM/d, respectively; P < 0.01). Pre–weaning body weight (54.21 kg) and BW gain average daily gain (ADG) 0.74 kg/d were greater (P < 0.01) for 2X calves compared to 1X (45.30 kg and 0.58 kg/d, respectively). Feed and energy conversion ratio did not differ (P > 0.05) between treatments before weaning, but were greater (P < 0.03) in 1X calves compared to 2X calves after weaning. Calves fed 2X lost weight a week after weaning, while calves fed 1X maintained growth.  Limiting frequency of free access to milk improved solid feed intake and helped calves maintaining apparent growth after weaning.
                                                              
Key words: dairy calf, milk intake, energy intake, weaning.