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Agronomía Mesoamericana

On-line version ISSN 2215-3608Print version ISSN 1659-1321


CASTRO-FLORES, Pamela  and  ELIZONDO-SALAZAR, Jorge Alberto. Growth  and  rumen  development  in  calves   fed starter submitted to different processing. Agron. Mesoam [online]. 2012, vol.23, n.2, pp.343-352. ISSN 2215-3608.

The objective of the study was to evaluate the effect of calf starter processing on growth and rumen development during the pre-weaning period. Twelve Holstein bull calves weighing on average 38 kg were used. Calves were randomly assigned to one of four treatments: ground, ground+forage, pelleted, and extruded. Feed  intake, body weight, withers height, and hip height were recorded weekly. Calves were harvested at eight weeks of age and stomachs were collected to  determine papillae length and width, and rumen wall thickness. Feed intake was different between pelleted  and ground+forage treatments. At  the  end  on  the  trial  calves  on  the  ground  treatment had  the  highest  intake.  Body  weight  was  not  different between treatments. Calves on the pelleted and  extruded treatments presented the highest withers  height during the last two weeks of the trial. Hip height showed no differences between treatments. When examining weight of the stomach compartments  no  differences  were  found.  Calves  on  the extruded treatment showed the lowest papillae height when compared  to  animals  on  the  ground  or   ground+forage treatment. These results indicate that rumen development is affected by feed processing;  however, other factors should be considered.

Keywords : nutrition; ruminants; feed intake; weaning; calves.

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