Effect of different fat and protein levels in calf ration on performance of Sahiwal calves

  • Sharma, Bharti (Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI), Animal Nutrition Division) ;
  • Nimje, Prapti (Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI), Animal Nutrition Division) ;
  • Tomar, S.K. (Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI), Animal Nutrition Division) ;
  • Dey, Dipak (Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI), Animal Nutrition Division) ;
  • Mondal, Santu (Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI), Livestock Production and Management) ;
  • Kundu, S.S. (Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI), Animal Nutrition Division)
  • Received : 2018.08.08
  • Accepted : 2019.01.09
  • Published : 2020.01.01


Objective: The current study was carried out to examine the response of different levels of fat and protein in calf starter on nutrient utilisation, nitrogen metabolism, weight gain, blood parameters, and immunity level in pre-ruminant calves. Methods: Twenty four calves (5 days old) were divided into six groups in a 2×3 factorial design, with two levels of fat (10% and 14%) and three levels of protein (18%, 21%, and 24%). The calves were kept in individual pens for 120 days and fed with whole milk (1/10th of body weight) and calf starter ad-libitum. Daily dry matter intake was recorded; whereas body weight was taken on fortnightly basis to calculate average daily gain. During the growth trial blood samples were collected at 30 days interval to estimate blood glucose, albumin, total protein, total leucocyte count, total immunoglobulins and immunoglobulin G levels. A metabolic trial of seven days was carried out to find out the digestibility of different nutrients. Results: The dry matter intake was reduced (p<0.05) with higher fat and protein levels whereas feed conversion efficiency was improved (p<0.05) with higher protein level. Different levels of fat and protein in calf ration did not affect average daily gain in calves. The dry matter, organic matter, and crude protein digestibility were significantly (p<0.01) higher with increased level of protein. The nitrogen retention was also significantly higher (p<0.05) at 24% protein level, similarly the total immunoglobulin was significantly (p<0.05) high in higher protein fed groups, showed better immunity. Conclusion: The present finding suggested that 10% fat and 18% protein level of calf starter could be used in Sahiwal calves for optimum performance in terms of weight gain and immunity.


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