Various methods can be used to feed dairy calves that may influence calf performance and these include changing frequency of feeding or age at weaning. Two trials were conducted to determine effects of feeding frequency and weaning age on calf growth, health and rumen development, where 124 Holstein heifer and bull calves were weaned at 3, 4, 5 or 6 weeks of age. During Trial 1, milk replacer (12.5% DM; 22% CP, 15.6% fat) was fed at 10% BW twice per day until 1 week prior to weaning when intake was reduced to 5% BW. During Trial 2 calves were fed at 10% BW in two feedings until 14 days, then at 10% BW once daily until 1 week prior to weaning when milk replacer was reduced to 5% BW. Blood glucose and urea nitrogen, BW 4 h post-feeding, heart girth, hip height, and withers height 4 h post-feeding were obtained weekly. Growth and structural measurements were similar for all treatments up to 8 weeks of age in both trials. Blood constituents and health observations were not different between trials. Similar growth and performance between treatments in both trials through 8 weeks of age indicate that calf performance is not affected by weaning early and feeding once daily.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Animal Science and Zoology