Effect of level of milk feeding and type of housing on the performance of crossbred calves (Bos Taurus × Bos indicius) and zebu calves (Bos indicus)

P.O. Osuji, H. Khalili, N.N. Umunna, S. Sibanda, T. Shenkoru


The performance of 40 crossbred calves (Bos taurus, Friesian × Bos indicus, Boran) and 40 zebu (Boran) calves, from five days after birth to 12 weeks of age, in two separate experiments, was evaluated regarding the effects of two levels of milk (2 or 3 L day-1) and two types of housing [barn (indoors) or hutch (outside)] on intake of a complete supplement, weaning age and weight, live weight, and average daily gain. Calves were weaned when supplement intake attained 450 g day-1. There were no significant treatment effects on supplement intake of zebu calves, and they were weaned after 11 weeks. Feeding 3 L of milk and keeping crossbred calves outside (in hutches) reduced significantly (P < 0.05; P < 0.01) supplement intake before weaning at six weeks. Zebu calves given 3 L of milk had significantly (P < 0.05) higher live weights. During weeks 5 to 8 zebu calves kept outside in hutches and given 3 L of milk had higher live weights (P < 0.05) than calves in the barn fed 3 L of milk. Live weights of crossbred calves before and after weaning were higher when 3 L of milk were fed. Live weight gains of crossbred calves ranged from 143 g day-1 in calves fed 2 L and housed indoors to 614 g day-1 in those fed 3 L and accommodated indoors. Zebu calves fed 3 L and kept outside gained 314 g day-1. The lowest gain was observed among zebu calves fed 2 L and housed indoors. Housing had no significant effect (P > 0.05) on live weights of crossbred calves.


Crossbred calves; Zebu calves; Milk level; Housing type; Intake; Growth; Weaning

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