Growth response of yearling buffalo male calves to different dietary energy levels


Abstract: To evaluate different levels of energy for optimum growth in Iranian regional buffalo male calves, a completely randomized study was conducted, using 27 yearling buffalo male calves with initial live weight of 201 ± 14 kg. Three diets were formulated to provide 90%, 100%, and 110% energy level requirements equivalent to those of steers derived from NRC beef cattle recommendations and they were fed ad libitum for 2 consecutive 90 day trial periods where the crude protein was 11.2% in the first and 10.22% in the second period. Dry matter intake of the high energy diets was significantly (P < 0.05) lower than those with lower energy contents in both periods. At both stages, daily gain was higher (P < 0.05) and feed conversion ratio improved when the animals received NRC recommended energy diets. There were no significant differences between treatments for the carcass traits with exception of abdominal fat, which was significantly affected by the energy levels (P < 0.05). It can be concluded that the optimum growth rate of buffalo male calves may be obtained by providing the NRC beef cattle standard dietary metabolizable energy from yearling to 18 months of age.

Keywords: Buffalo male calves, growth rate, energy levels

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