The objective of this study was to determine the effects of feeding frequency (FF) and feeding level (FL) on protein and energy metabolism in adapted, heavy preruminant calves. It was hypothesized that an increased FF would increase protein utilization by an improved synchrony between the supply of and requirements for protein during the day when a quickly hydrolyzable protein source was used. Eighteen Holstein Friesian calves of 136 ± 3 kg of body weight were assigned to FF (1, 2, or 4 meals daily) at 2 FL (1.5 or 2.5 times the metabolizable energy requirements for maintenance), except for calves fed once daily (only at a low FL). Calves were individually housed in respiration chambers during 2 experimental periods of 10 d. Whey protein was the only protein source in the diet. Neither FL nor FF affected apparent fecal nutrient digestibility. Increasing FF increased the efficiency with which digestible protein was utilized in calves. The increase was greater at a high FL (+11% from 2 to 4 meals/d) than at a low FL (+5% from 2 to 4 meals/d), but no significant interaction occurred between FL and FF. An increased FF and a higher FL enhanced fat deposition. Heat production was not affected by FF, but its circadian rhythm differed considerably between FF. Activity-related heat production was not affected by FF or FL. Thus, increasing FF improved the efficiency with which protein and energy were utilized in heavy preruminant calves when a quickly hydrolyzable protein source was used.
- veal calves
- milk replacer