The Effect of Feeding Regime without Roughage during the Pre-Weaning Period on Pre- and Postweaning Performance of Dairy Calves

1 Ministry of Agriculture, Cukurova State Farm, 01921 Adana, Turkey
2 Cukurova University, Agriculture Faculty, Animal Science Department, Adana, Turkey


KELES, A. E., M. GORGULU and S. GONCU, 2014. The effect of feeding regime without roughage during the pre-weaning period on pre- and postweaning performance of dairy calves. Bulg. J. Agric. Sci., 20: 675-679


A total of 44 Holstein calves (3 days old and average body weight 30 kg; 22 male and 22 female) were used to investigate the effect of method of feeding of roughage during pre-weaning on performance of Holstein calves during the pre- and postweaning period. Calves within each gender were assigned to two treatment groups. The first group was fed calf starter and ground alfalfa hay (1–2 cm lengths) and the second treatment group was fed calf starter only during pre-weaning period. Calves were weaned after 8 week then all calves were fed a total mixed diet containing 60% alfalfa hay and 40% calf grower for another 8 weeks. Gender had significant effects on all parameters except pre-weaning and overall daily gain. Daily gains for both genders receiving calf starter only were not different after weaning, but the male calves had higher daily gain than the female calves when calf starter and alfalfa hay were offered. There were no gender differences in feed to gain ratios when alfalfa hay and calf starter, but male calves consumed more feed per kg gain during postweaning when calf starter was supplied only during preweaning period. The results indicated that the calves receiving calf starter only during pre-weaning period consumed more feed and gained more live weight after weaning and the overall study. Calves may be raised without roughage
in pre-weaning period but it could be deteriorate feed efficiency and feed cost per unit of gain due to increase in feed intake.

Key words: postweaning growth, no roughage, rumen development, feed intake, calves

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