A note on the relationships between solid food intake, the volume of the abdominal organs, and external body measurements in calves

Hodgson, J.; Cottrell, K.M.

Animal Production 17(2): 197-200


ISSN/ISBN: 0003-3561
DOI: 10.1017/s0003356100016949
Accession: 000007063

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In the Jersey calves described in NAR 42, 4385, which had been given dried grass chopped or pelleted, detailed measurements were made of organs in abdomen and thorax. The relations between feed intake, size or organs and simple external body measurements are reported. Before slaughter the back from midway between the anterior angles of the scapular cartilages to the external angles of right and left ilia and girth at the widest part of the abdomen were measured. The body cavity was assumed to be ellipsoid and its volume was calculated as Vb = (girth)2 X back length/6 pi X 1000. Regressions between mean intake of DM, actual volume of abdominal or abdominal plus thoracic organs and liveweight, girth or Vb were calculated. Estimates of Vb were 13 and 14%, respectively, less than actual volumes of abdominal plus thoracic cavities of calves given chopped or pelleted grass. The different diets caused no significant difference in the slopes of the regressions but intercepts differed significantly so that feed intake could be predicted from liveweight or body measurements within one diet only. Correlation coefficients were high, but residual variation in feed intake was lower in regressions on body measurements than on liveweight. There was no effect due to diet in regressions of actual volumes of organs on liveweight, girth or Vb. It is suggested that with the high correlations (r = 0.95 or greater) it is possible to estimate volume of internal organs of the body from external measurements with reasonable accuracy on any diet, and that the method might be extended to animals other than calves. Liveweight was less useful in this prediction than back length or girth.