Effect of weaning age and milk feeding volume on growth performance of Nili-Ravi buffalo calves

Waseem Abbas, Shaukat A. Bhatti, Muhammad S. Khan, Nawaz Saeed, Hassan M. Warriach, Peter Wynn, David McGill

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The objective of this study was to evaluate the growth performance of early or late weaned Nili-Ravi buffalo calves offered feeding regimes of low or high milk volumes. For this purpose, 48-day-old buffalo calves were randomly allocated to four treatments of twelve calves each. Calves were weaned either at day 56 (early weaned) or 84 (late weaned). Within each weaning age calves were offered milk at either 10% (low milk) or 15% (high milk) of their body weight. Early weaned calves were offered milk adjusted weekly until day 35; the calculated milk intake at day 35 was reduced by one-third in each of the last two weeks leading to the weaning of the calves at day 56. Late weaned calves were offered milk, adjusted weekly, until day 63 and weaned at day 84 by decreasing milk by one-third each week for the last two weeks. At week sixteen, late weaned calves had higher body weight and average daily gain than early weaned calves (p <.05). These same measurements were also higher in the high milk than the low milk fed calves (p <.05). Highest body weight and average daily gain was recorded in high milk late weaned calves and poorest in low milk early weaned calves. Early weaning or low milk volumes minimised the feeding costs, however, resulted in lower body weights and average daily gains. Thus, choices of pre-weaning feeding regimen should be made with feeding cost and performance of replacement calves kept in mind.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)490-499
Number of pages10
JournalItalian Journal of Animal Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 22 Feb 2017


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