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Performance and production cost of calves fed milk replacer or whole milk and traditional or a modified calf starter program in low environmental temperature

Grant number: 16/18603-1
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): December 11, 2016
Effective date (End): June 30, 2017
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Animal Husbandry - Animal Nutrition and Feeding
Principal researcher:Carla Maris Machado Bittar
Grantee:Fernanda Lavínia Moura Silva
Supervisor abroad: David K. Combs
Home Institution: Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz (ESALQ). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Piracicaba , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison), United States  
Associated to the scholarship:14/20987-7 - Importance of colostrum in thermoregulation of calves exposed to challenges of low temperatures, BP.DR

Abstract

The objective of this research proposal is to evaluate performance, blood metabolites and production costs of calves fed milk replacer or whole milk and traditional or a modified calf starter program in low environmental temperature. The study will utilize 75 Holstein heifer calves. All calves will be receive 4 L of colostrum within 4 to 6 hours of birth. Birth weights will be recorded and calves assigned to treatments by a pre-determined randomized assignment sheet. All calves will be fed 2 L/feeding of pasteurized whole milk on day two. On day three calves will begin to consume their respective experimental treatments. This study will assign calves randomly to one of five treatment groups: Treatment 1: (Low milk replacer/ad libitum starter). Calves will be fed a restricted amount of milk replacer (2 L, 2x per day) and provided ad libitum a high quality complete calf starter. Calves will be offered milk replacer until 8 weeks of age (56 days of age). Treatment 2: (ad libitum milk replacer allocation/ ad libitum starter). Calves will be provided 4 L of milk replacer 2x per day and ad libitum a high quality complete calf starter. Calves will be offered milk replacer until 6 weeks of age (42 days of age). Treatment 3: (ad libitum milk replacer/ modified starter program). Calves will be provided 4 L milk replacer 2x per day. From days 2-21 of the study calves will be fed steam flaked corn ad libitum. At the start of week four, calves will be offered a mixture of 2 parts steam flaked corn and 1 part calf starter. At the start of week five calves will no longer be offered steam flaked corn and will be ad libitum calf starter. Calves will be offered milk replacer until 6 weeks of age (42 days of age). Treatment 4: (Pasteurized whole milk ad libitum/ ad libitum starter). Calves will be fed in the same manner as calves assigned to treatment two except that they will be fed pasteurized whole milk instead of reconstituted milk replacer. Treatment 5: (Pasteurized whole milk ad libitum/ modified starter program). Calves will be fed in the same manner as calves assigned to treatment three except that they will be fed pasteurized whole milk instead of reconstituted milk replacer. Will be measured average daily gain, wither height and heart girth, milk or milk replacer intake, starter intake, steam flaked corn intake, feed/gain ratio, feeding costs (total costs and cost per unit of gain), passive immunity transfer, hematology dynamics, metabolic effects of feeding, incidence and severity of scours and respiratory disease, and environmental temperature. The trial is designed as an incomplete factorial experiment. (AU)

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