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Asian-Australas J Anim Sci > Accepted Articles
DOI: https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.18.0698    [Accepted] Published online January 4, 2019.
The effects of age and gender (bull vs. steer) on the feeding behavior of young beef cattle fed grass silage
Natalia Puzio1, Cezary Purwin1, Zenon Nogalski2, Ireneusz Białobrzewski3, Łukasz Tomczyk4, Jacek P. Michalski6,* 
1Department of Animal Nutrition and Feed Science, University of Warmia and Mazury, Olsztyn 10-719, Poland
2Department of Cattle Breeding and Milk Evaluation, University of Warmia and Mazury, Olsztyn 10-719, Poland
3Department of Systems Engineering, University of Warmia and Mazury, Olsztyn 10-718, Poland
4Department of Safety Engineering, University of Warmia and Mazury, Olsztyn 10-719, Poland
5The Kielanowski Institute of Animal Physiology and Nutrition, Polish Academy of Sciences, Jabłonna 05-110, Poland
6\
Correspondence:  Jacek P. Michalski, Tel: +48-22-7653371, Fax: +48-22-7653302, Email: j.p.michalski@op.pl
Received: 12 September 2018   • Revised: 7 November 2018   • Accepted: 15 December 2018
Abstract
Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the effects of age and gender (bull vs. steer) on feeding behavior parameters in young beef cattle fed grass silage.

Methods

The study was conducted on 180 young beef cattle at 7 to 18 mo of age. The experimental materials comprised 90 bulls produced by commercial crossing of Polish Holstein-Friesian cows with Charolais, Limousin and Hereford bulls (30 animals of each breed) and 90 steers of the same genotypes. The animals had ad libitum access to grass silage; the concentrate was fed separately, in feed stations. They received 28 g DM of concentrate per kg of metabolic BW per day. Bunk visit data and silage intake for all experimental animals were recorded individually using the Roughage Intake Control system (5 feed bunks per 15 animals).

Results

Age and gender (bull vs. steer) exerted significant effects on the feeding behavior of young beef cattle. The frequency of bunk visits and meal frequency decreased, whereas the feeding rate of silage, and the average duration and size of a single meal increased with age (p< 0.01). Bunk attendance and meal frequency were higher (p< 0.01) in steers than in bulls (49.1 vs. 37.4 visits/d, and 8.63 vs. 7.99 meals/d, respectively). Daily feeding time was longer in steers than in bulls (102.3 vs. 100.3 min/d, respectively), but the feeding rate of silage was lower in steers, and their meals were smaller in size and shorter in duration (p< 0.01). Daily silage DMI was higher (p< 0.01) in bulls than in steers (4.62 vs. 4.47 kg/d, respectively).

Conclusions

The results of this study indicate that age and gender (bull vs. steer) exerted significant effects on the feeding behavior of young beef cattle.
Keywords: Bulls; Cattle; Feeding Behavior; Grass Silage; Steers


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