Growth and Survival of Simmental Calves Reared Outdoors in Individual Hutches


Abstract: The effects of outdoor raising on the survival and growth of Simmental calves in individual hutches were studied at Kazova State Farm, the location having a mixture of Black Sea and semiarid continental climate conditions. A total of 63 female calves born in each of the four seasons between March 1996 and February 1997 were used. The animals were kept in individual hutches for 3 months (preweaning period) and then in groups of 10 until 6 months of age (postweaning period). The mean birth weight was 38.92 kg, while average birth weights for the seasons ranged from 37.70 to 40.44 kg (P<0.05), being highest in spring and lowest in winter. The live weights for 1, 2, 3 and 6 months were 57.69, 74.93, 92.37 and 148.63 kg, respectively. The effect of seasons on live weights were statistically significant (P<0.05, P<0.01), with the only exception at 3 months live weight (P>0.05). The rate of health disorders were highest in the first month of life, and the overall health disorder rate was 25.4%. There was no calf death in the preweaning period and the mortality rate was 3.2% in the postweaning period. The results indicated that Simmental calves could be reared outdoors successfully on the Kazova State Farm conditions.

Keywords: Simmental, Calves, Outdoors Rearing, Growth, Survival

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