This study was conducted to evaluate the growth performance and feed intake of crossbred (Boran x Holstein Friesian) female calves fed different levels of molasses in concentrate mixture using 24 yearlings calves with average initial weight of 142.4±20.7 kg which lasted for 90 days. The calves were assigned into treatments having 0 (T1), 15 (T2), 30 (T3) and 50% (T4) molasses which replaced wheat bran in concentrate mixture using randomized complete block design into six blocks of four animals. The dry matter (DM) degradability was determined by incubating 3 g of feed samples in fistulated steers fed natural pasture hay ad libitum supplemented with 2 kg of concentrate. The total DM and organic matter (OM) intake for T2 and T3 diets were higher (P< 0.05) than those fed T1 and T4 diets. The stover DM and OM intake for T2 and T3 diets were higher (p<0.05) than for other treatments. The highest (p<0.05) crude protein intake was observed in calves fed T3 diets. Metabolizable energy (ME) intake was higher (P<0.05) for calves fed on T2 and T3 diets, respectively. Calves fed on T2, T3 and T4 diets had higher average daily gain compared to those fed T1 diet. The DM degradability after 4, 8, 24, 48, and 96 h of incubation was higher (P < 0.05) for T4 than that of T1. Based on intake of DM, OM and ME and growth performance, 15 and 30% molasses could be used as a replacement to wheat bran in the ration of heifers fed maize stover with good performance.
Key words: Molasses, performance, crossbred, calves, maize stover, Ethiopia.
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