- Volume 31 Issue 6
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Effect of weaning age on growth performance, feed efficiency, nutrient digestibility and blood-biochemical parameters in Droughtmaster crossbred beef calves
- Tao, Hui (Feed Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Key Laboratory of Feed Biotechnology of the Ministry of Agriculture) ;
- Guo, Feng (Feed Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Key Laboratory of Feed Biotechnology of the Ministry of Agriculture) ;
- Tu, Yan (Feed Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Key Laboratory of Feed Biotechnology of the Ministry of Agriculture) ;
- Si, Bing-Wen (Feed Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Key Laboratory of Feed Biotechnology of the Ministry of Agriculture) ;
- Xing, Yu-Chuan (Herbivorous Animal Husbandry Research Institute, Chongqing Academy of Animal Husbandry) ;
- Huang, De-Jun (Herbivorous Animal Husbandry Research Institute, Chongqing Academy of Animal Husbandry) ;
- Diao, Qi-Yu (Feed Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Key Laboratory of Feed Biotechnology of the Ministry of Agriculture)
- Received : 2017.07.13
- Accepted : 2017.11.01
- Published : 2018.06.01
Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the effect of weaning age on intake, performance, nutrition metabolism and serum parameters of beef calves. Methods: Sixty Droughtmaster crossbred calves were assigned to 5 groups with 12 calves in each group. The calves in control group remained with the dams till the 22-week age, while the calves weaned at 28 d (4 wk), 42 d (6 wk), 56 d (8 wk), and 70 d (10 wk) of age were sent to group 4 wk, group 6 wk, group 8 wk, and group 10 wk, respectively, and then were fed on milk replacer till the 22-week age. Feed intake and body weight and size were record and blood metabolites were measured. And 24 calves of them (6 in each group) were picked randomly for digestion and metabolism trail. Feed, feces and urine sample were taken and measured. Results: Dry matter intake of calves in group 4 wk was significantly lower than those in the remaining groups from wk 17 to 22 (p<0.05). Feed efficiency of the calves was higher in groups 4 wk and 6 wk than those in groups 8 wk and 10 wk from 11 to 13 wk (p<0.05), and calves had higher feed efficiency in group 4 wk, group 6 wk, and group 8 wk than those in group 10 wk from wk 14 to wk 22. Calves in group 4 wk and 6 wk had lower body weight than group 8 wk and group 10 wk and control group at 10-week age (p<0.05) and 13-week age (p<0.05), and calves in group 6 wk had no significant difference in body weight with control group, group 8 wk and 10 wk (p>0.05) but was higher than that of group 4 wk (p<0.05). Calves in group 6 wk had higher final body weight and total gain than group 4 wk, but no difference of total gain with that of groups 8 wk, 10 wk, and control group. And weaning calves at 6-week age brought higher feed efficiency and average daily gain from wk 14 to wk 22, and higher dry matter and organic matter digestibility at 21 wk. Conclusion: It is concluded that the weaning of calves at 6 weeks of age gave positive results.
Grant : Young Herbivorous Livestock Rearing Technology Research in Southern China
Supported by : Ministry of Agriculture
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