Effect of Individual versus Group Rearing and Feeding of Different Levels of Milk and Skim Milk on Nutrient Utilization in Crossbred Calves

  • Babu, L.K. (Department of Animal Production and Management, Orissa Veterinary College) ;
  • Pandey, H.N. (Indian Veterinary Research Institute) ;
  • Sahoo, A. (Indian Veterinary Research Institute)
  • Received : 2002.06.11
  • Accepted : 2003.05.19
  • Published : 2003.10.01


A $2{\times}3$ factorial design was used to study the impact of rearing systems, individual (I) vs. group (G) and different levels of milk/skim milk feeding (three schedules, F1, F2 and F3) on performance of crossbred (Bos indicus ${\times}$ Bos taurus) calves. Six calves (three from each sex) were taken in each group on the basis of their birth weight. All the calves were fed colostrum for three days and thereafter, were allotted to three different milk feeding schedules (F), i.e. milk fed upto 8 weeks of age (F1), milk upto 4 weeks followed by 50% (F2) and 100% (F3) replacement of milk with skim milk in the next 4 weeks. Calf starter and cereal green fodder were fed ad libitum to all the calves beginning from second week of age. A digestibility trial was conducted at 15th week of age to assess nutrient utilization during postweaning period. The digestibilty of dry matter (DM), organic matter, total carbohydrate, ether extract and crude protein (CP) were nonsignificant between the rearing systems and the feeding schedules. There was significantly higher digestibility of NDF and ADF in G than I and in F3 than F1 and F2. The concentration CP and total digestible nutrients of the diet ranged from 17.18 to 17.75% and 66.32 to 70.14%, respectively. The DM intake (kg/100 kg body weight) ranged from 1.74 to 2.14 kg during 0 to 8 weeks and 3.19 to 3.41 kg during 0 to 14 weeks of age. The effects during postweaning phase (9-14 weeks of age) showed increased performance in group housed calves compared to individually housed ones with a superior average daily gain (590 vs. 443 g) and dry matter intake (1.79 vs. 1.64 kg). Above all, replacement of milk with skim milk at 50% level after 4th week followed by complete removal after 6th week of age (F2) seemed to suit better in coping with immediate energy starvation due to sole feeding of skim milk (F3) and they performed the best under group housed system of rearing.


Supported by : Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar, India


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