Twenty four, three-week old Friesian calves were fed restricted levels of milk replacer and ad libitum levels of either ensiled roughages (R) or cereal-based pellets (P). The roughage diet consisted of ensiled lucerne- molasses (Chaffhage), followed by a mixture of Chaffhage and ensiled maize-molasses (Stockhage). The calves were weaned off milk over a two week period once they reached 70 kg. Diet R calves grew significantly faster (P<0.001) and finished the trial significantly sooner (P<0.05), based on unfasted weekly liveweight data. However, no differences were observed in fasted body weight gain. Diet R was consumed in significantly (P<0.001) larger quantities and resulted in a significantly (P<0.001) greater fasting weight loss at the end of the trial. No carryover effects were observed in terms of subsequent growth rate in heifer calves at pasture following weaning. Energy digestibilities of Chaffhage and diet P (measured using 8 bull calves following weaning) were not significantly different. No carryover effects in the ability of calves reared on R or P to digest pasture were observed. It is concluded that ensiled roughage can be consumed in sufficient quantities by young calves to produce acceptable levels of liveweight gain.

AJ, Litherland, N Haack, and DJ Paterson

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 53, , 15-18, 1993
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