Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
. 2012 Jul;95(7):3970-6.
doi: 10.3168/jds.2011-5027.

Postweaning Performance of Heifers Fed Starter With and Without Hay During the Milk-Feeding Period

Affiliations
Free article

Postweaning Performance of Heifers Fed Starter With and Without Hay During the Milk-Feeding Period

M A Khan et al. J Dairy Sci. .
Free article

Abstract

This study assessed the carryover effects of providing forage during the milk-feeding period on postweaning feed intake and growth of heifers. At 11 wk of age, heifers previously (3 to 77 d of age) reared on starter (n=8) or starter plus grass hay (n=8) were switched to a single diet consisting of restricted amounts of concentrate [60% of the starter required to support daily body weight (BW) gain of 800 g] with ad libitum access to coarsely chopped orchardgrass hay. Feed intake and growth were measured from 11 to 18 wk of age. Starter dry matter (DM) intake averaged 2.14 ± 0.15 kg/d for both treatments. Forage consumption and total (starter plus hay) DM, neutral detergent fiber, crude protein, and metabolizable energy intakes were greater in heifers previously fed forage compared with those provided no forage. Initial and final BW were similar for the 2 treatments (108.2 ± 9.1 and 149.6 ± 9.3 kg, respectively). Overall average daily gain in heifers previously fed starter alone (0.92 ± 0.05,kg/d) tended to be greater than those previously fed starter plus hay (0.79 ± 0.06,kg/d). Total DM intake (starter plus hay) was lower in heifers previously fed starter alone than those fed starter plus hay (3.55 ± 0.13 vs. 4.08 ± 0.15 kg/d, respectively). Feed efficiency (BW gain/DM intake) after switching to a common diet was greater in calves previously fed starter alone than in those previously fed starter plus hay (0.26 ± 0.01 vs. 0.19 ± 0.01, respectively). However, heifers provided access to hay had a smaller body barrel (an indicator of gut fill) at 15 wk (127.7 ± 1.7 vs. 134.3 ± 2.7 cm) and 17 wk (132.4 ± 1.9 vs. 141.0 ± 2.2 cm) of age and had greater blood β-hydroxybutyrate (0.22 ± 0.04 vs. 0.32 ± 0.04 mmol/L) compared with heifers that did not have access to hay earlier in life. These results indicate that provision of hay early in life promotes forage intake when heifers are switched to a high forage diet. However, greater feed consumption did not translate into live BW gain. Higher feed efficiency after switching to a common diet in heifers previously fed starter alone compared with those fed starter plus hay must be viewed with caution because intestinal content likely varied between treatment groups.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 1 article

Publication types

LinkOut - more resources

Feedback