The Effect of Concentrate Feeding Levels on the Postweanining Performance of Holstein Friesian Calves


Abstract: The influences of different levels of concentrate on the growth characteristics of Holstein Friesian calves reared under an original calf-rearing program were investigated in this study. Forty-one new-born calves (20 male and 21 female) were allocated to the four concentrate groups: 2, 2.5, 3 kg/calf and ad libitum. The calves were weaned at 5 weeks of age, and the trial lasted for 6 months. The results with regard to weights at 6 months of age revealed that an increasing amount of concentrate supplementation resulted in a significantly (P < 0.01) higher live weight. Furthermore, daily weight gains between birth and 6 months of age was also significantly higher (P < 0.01) in the ad libitum group than in the 2, 2.5 and 3 kg/day groups. The highest overall gains in body measurements, for example body length and heart girth, were obtained from calves fed concentrate ad libitum. However, feed efficiency ratios were not significantly influenced by the various amounts of concentrate offered to calves. The overall results suggest that the appropriate level of concentrate for the new calf-rearing program should be ad libitum.

Keywords: Holstein Friesian, Calves, Concentrate, Growth, Early Weaning, Feeding Level

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