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Asian-Australas J Anim Sci > Accepted Articles
DOI: https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.17.0539    [Accepted] Published online November 3, 2017.
Effect of Weaning Age on Growth Performance, Feed Efficiency, Nutrient Digestibility and Blood-biochemical Parameters in Droughtmaster Crossbred Beef Calves
Hui Tao1, Feng Guo1, Qi-Yu Diao1,*, Yan Tu, Bing-Wen Si, Yu-Chuan Xing, De-Jun Huang
Feed Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing, China
Correspondence:  Qi-Yu Diao, Tel: (86)01062169105, Fax: (86)01062169105, Email: diaoqiyu@caas.cn
Received: 13 July 2017   • Revised: 13 September 2017   • Accepted: 13 July 2017
Abstract
The objective of this study was to determine the effect of weaning age on intake, performance, nutrition metabolism and serum parameters of beef calves. 60 head of Droughtmaster crossbred calves were assigned to 5 groups with 12 calves in each group. The calves in control Group were remained with the dams till the 22-week age, while the calves weaned at 28d (4w), 42 d(6w), 56 d(8w) and 70 d(10w) of age were sent to Group 4W, Group6W, Group 8Wand Group 10W separately, and then they were fed on milk replacer (MR) till the 22-week age. DMI of calves in Group 4W was significantly lower than that in the rest groups from w17 to 22 (P<0.05), while feed efficiency of the calves were higher in the Group 4W and 6W than that in Group 6W and 8W from 11 to 13w (P<0.05), and was significantly higher than that in Group 8W from w14 to w22 but had no significant difference with that in Group 8W (P>0.05). Calves in Group 4W and 6W had lower body weight than that in the Group 8W and Group 10W and control group at 10-week age (P<0.05) and 13-week age (P<0.05), but calves in Group 6W had no significant difference of body weight with that in control group, Group 8W and 10W(P<0.05), but was higher than that in Group 4W(P>0.05). Calve in Group 6W had higher final body weight and total gain than that in Group 4W, but no difference of total gain with that in Group 8W, 10W and control group. And weaning calve at age of 6-week age brought higher feed efficiency and average daily gain from w14 to 22, and higher DM and OM digestibility at w21. It is concluded that the weaning of calves at 6 weeks of age gave positive results.
Keywords: Weaning age; Growth Performance; Feed Efficiency; Beef Calves


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