Time of milk replacer introduction: its effects on pre and post weaning growth

J. Barry, J.P. Murphy, E.A.M. Bokkers, E. Kennedy

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract

Abstract

Objectives: Early introduction of milk replacer (MR) feeding could be a future strategy used to reduce transmission of
Johnes Diseases to neonatal calves. The aim of this experiment was to investigate the effect of the timing of introducing
MR into the diet of dairy heifer calves on body weight (BW) during the pre- and post-weaning periods.
Materials and Methods: The experiment was carried out at Teagasc, Animal and Grassland Research and Innovation
Centre, Moorepark, Fermoy, Co.Cork, Ireland. A study population of 120 dairy heifer calves (Holstein Friesian and
Holstein Friesian x Jersey) was used. Calves were weighed immediately after birth (mean BW at birth 33.2 (S.D 3.34) kg)
and received 8.5 % of their birth BW in colostrum, obtained from the first milking of the dam within two hours of birth, and
was fed via oesophageal tube. Calves were then randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups: (i) fed milk
replacer at the feed following colostrum feeding (MR), (ii) fed milk replacer following colostrum feeding and four feeds of
transition milk (TM) and (iii) fed milk replacer following colostrum feeding, four feeds of transition milk and ten feeds of
whole milk (WM). Milk replacer (26 % crude protein) was fed at a rate of 15 % of birth BW and prepared at 15 %
concentration. Weight recording was carried out weekly from birth to weaning to monitor the effect of the treatments on
BW. Calves were weaned when they reached 18 % of mature BW and the age at weaning was recorded. Post-weaning,
weight was recorded at two week intervals.
Results: There was no difference in BW at birth (33.2 kg) or at weaning (93.2 kg) between the three treatments. There
was also no difference in the time taken to reach target weaning weight (90.2 days), and consequently no difference in
average daily gain (ADG) from birth to weaning (0.66 kg/day) between treatments. When calves were weighed at 140
and 240 days old again there was no difference in BW (129 and 215 kg, respectively). Similarly there was no difference
in ADG from birth to 240 days old (0.75 kg/day) and weaning to 240 days old (0.81 kg/day) between treatments.
Conclusions: Early introduction of MR feeding did not affect BW or ADG of dairy heifer calves in the pre- and postweaning
period. This suggests that milk replacer can be offered to calves immediately after colostrum feeding where
there is a risk of Johnes disease transmission to neonatal calves, however colostrum feeding needs to adhere to best
practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages707-707
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventCongress of the World Association for Buiatrics - Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 3 Jul 20168 Jul 2016
Conference number: 29

Conference

ConferenceCongress of the World Association for Buiatrics
CountryIreland
CityDublin
Period3/07/168/07/16

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  • Cite this

    Barry, J., Murphy, J. P., Bokkers, E. A. M., & Kennedy, E. (2016). Time of milk replacer introduction: its effects on pre and post weaning growth. 707-707. Abstract from Congress of the World Association for Buiatrics, Dublin, Ireland.