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Effect of once-a-day milk feeding on behavior and growth performance of pre-weaning calves.

Authors
  • Mushtaq, Syed Husnain1
  • Hussain, Danish1
  • Hifz-Ul-Rahman,2
  • Naveed-Ul-Haque, Muhammad2
  • Ahmad, Nisar1
  • Sardar, Ahmad Azeem2
  • Chishti, Ghazanfar Ali2
  • 1 Department of Livestock Production, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Pattoki 55300, Pakistan. , (Pakistan)
  • 2 Department of Animal Nutrition, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Pattoki 55300, Pakistan. , (Pakistan)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Animal bioscience
Publication Date
Feb 01, 2024
Volume
37
Issue
2
Pages
253–260
Identifiers
DOI: 10.5713/ab.23.0073
PMID: 37641842
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

The objectives of the present study were to evaluate the effects of once-a-day milk feeding on growth performance and routine behavior of preweaning dairy calves. At 22nd day of age, twenty-four Holstein calves were randomly assigned to one of two treatment groups (n = 12/treatment) based on milk feeding frequency (MF): i) 3 L of milk feeding two times a day; ii) 6 L of milk feeding once a day. The milk feeding amount was reduced to half for all calves between 56 and 60 days of age and weaning was done at 60 days of age. To determine the increase in weight and structural measurements, each calf was weighed and measured at 3 weeks of age and then at weaning. The daily behavioral activity of each calf was assessed from the 22nd day of age till weaning (60th day of age) through Nederlandsche Apparatenfabriek (NEDAP) software providing real-time data through a logger fitted on the calf's foot. There was no interaction (p≥0.17) between MF and sex of the calves for routine behavioral parameters, body weight and structural measurements. Similarly, there was no effect of MF on routine behavioral parameters, body weight and structural measurements. However, the sex of the calves affected body weight gain in calves. Male calves had 27% greater total body weight and average daily gain than female calves. There was no effect of the sex of the calves on behavioral measurements. Collectively, in the current study, no negative effects of a once-a-day milk feeding regimen were found on routine behavioral and growth parameters of preweaning calves in group housing. Once-a-day milk feeding can be safely adopted in preweaning calves from 22nd day of age.

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