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Suckling vs artificial rearing of Holstein-Zebu crossbred calves: II. Effect on calf performance



Suckling vs artificial rearing of Holstein-Zebu crossbred calves: II. Effect on calf performance



Revista da Sociedade Brasileira de Zootecnia 22(3): 423-431



Holstein-Zebu calves (37 males and 39 females) were used to compare two rearing systems at two Experimental Stations in Southeastern Brazil. Forty-two calves were subjected to "restricted suckling" (RS), in which the calves suckled one teat twice daily during the first 4 weeks (after other teats were milked). From 5-8 wk, calves suckled all 4 teats after cows were hand-milked. In the "artificial rearing system" (AR), calves were bucket-fed 3 kg of milk/d. AU calves were weaned at 56 d and fed starter (18% CP) plus chopped elephantgrass (Pennisetum purpureum Schum) from 2 to 10 wk. Thereafter, they grazed tropical pasture. Starter was limited to 1 or 2 kg/d at the 2 sites. From 0 to 4 wk, average daily gains were higher (P lt 0.03) for calves on RS (412 +- 25 vs 329 +- 28 g/d) due to higher (P lt 0.01) milk intake (3.54 +- 0.13 vs. 3.10 +- 0.15 kg/d), and calf starter intake was higher (P lt 0.02) for AR calves (83 +- 14 vs 48 +- 12 g/d). From 5-8 wk, AR calves had higher (P lt 0.001) average daily gains (505 +- 30 vs 381 +- 26 g/d) and higher (P lt 0,001) intakes of milk (3.10 +- 0.10 vs. 1.88 +- 0.09 kg/d). Mean starter intakes from 5-8 wk were similar for both systems (400 +- 70 g/d). Moreover, there were no differences between systems for average daily gain from 0 to 6 months (430 +- 16 g/d). Diarrhea incidence and treatments for sickness were also similar. In conclusion, performance of calves raised on PS or AR systems did not differ.

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