Effects of housing and feeding systems on performance of neonatal Holstein bull calves

J. C. Bernal-Rigoli, J. D. Allen, J. A. Marchello, S. P. Cuneo, S. R. Garcia, G. Xie, L. W. Hall, C. D. Burrows, G. C. Duff

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    24 Scopus citations


    As the dairy industry continues to grow, more dairy calves are available for dairy, beef, and veal purposes. Rearing systems must be highly effi cient to make this industry cost effi cient, making the evaluation of rearing methods important to establish the most practical method. A study was designed and conducted to evaluate effects of housing and feeding systems on performance of neonatal Holstein bull calves. Treatments (2 × 2 factorial arrangement) consisted of: 1) individually housed, bottle-fed (n = 5 bull calves); 2) individually housed, bucket-fed (n = 5 bull calves); 3) group-housed, bottle-fed (n = 5 pens; 4 bull calves/ pen); and 4) group-housed, bucket- (trough) fed (n = 5 pens; 3 or 4 bull calves/pen). Feeding treatments began on d 7 when calves had been acclimated to their new environment. Body weight measurements were collected every 7 d and blood samples were collected on d 0, 28, 55, and 66 for β-hydroxybutyrate (BHBA) concentration as a gross indicator of ruminal development. No housing × feeding interactions or feeding treatment effects were observed (P > 0.10). Average DMI (dry feed plus milk replacer) was increased (P < 0.05) for group-housed vs. individual animals after d 41, and fi nal BW was greater (P < 0.05) for group-housed calves compared with individually housed calves. Feed effi ciency and ADG, however, remained similar (P > 0.10) for all treatments. Fecal scores (P > 0.26), CV for BW (P > 0.26), and BHBA concentrations (P > 0.14) showed no differences among treatments. Housing system had greater effect on calf performance compared with milk feeding regimen.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)2818-2825
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of animal science
    Issue number8
    StatePublished - Aug 2012


    • Calves
    • Feeding system
    • Holstein
    • Housing
    • Performance
    • β-hydroxybutyrate

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Food Science
    • Animal Science and Zoology
    • Genetics


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