Forty-four Holstein calves were assigned randomly to treatments in a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement of weaning age (4 or 7 wk) and coccidiostat (treatment or control). The objective of this study was to compare the effectiveness of a coccidiostat, decoquinate, on health parameters and growth of neonatal dairy calves on early and conventional weaning systems. Calves weaned at 4 wk had greater intakes of grain in wk 5 to 7 than did calves weaned at 7 wk. Differences in intakes between weaning groups were not apparent from wk 8 to 24. Fecal coccidia oocyst counts were not affected by age at weaning but were affected by coccidiostat feeding at the rate of .5 mg/kg BW/d offered from 3 d of age and throughout the trial. No effects due to age at weaning or coccidiostat treatment were found in plasma glucose, urea N, and minerals (Ca, P, Na, Cl, K, Mg). Growth parameters were significantly increased in treated animals. Total BW was increased (wk 9 to 24) in treated over control calves (127.3 versus 118.5 kg). Height at withers was also increased in treated calves (95.0 vs. 92.8 cm). Coccidiosis treatment increased growth of dairy calves from 9 to 24 wk, but no interactions were found between coccidiosis treatment and age at weaning.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Animal Science and Zoology