Effect of dam nutrition and suckling on lactation in Borana cows and growth in their Borana × Friesian crossbred calves in an early weaning system in Ethiopia uri icon


  • Fourty-four Borana X Friesian F1 crossbred calves born to Borana (Bos indicus) cows were randomly assigned to either suck their dams twice daily or bucket-feeding with 134 l. milk over a 57-day pre-weaning period. Their dams were also allocated either to a supplement group with grass hay ad libitum and 5 kg per head per day of a concentrate ration or to an unsupplemented group with ad libitum grass hay only. Calves were fed in individual boxes in a calf house. The mean birth weight of calves was 24.8 kg. Suckled calves were heavier at weaning and had faster pre-weaning growth rate than bucket-fed calves. Calves which sucked supplemented cows were heavier at weaning, had faster pre-weaning growth rate and higher daily milk intake than those which sucked unsupplemented cows. Mean concentrate intake was 302 g/day for bucket-fed calves and 341 and 408 g/day for calves which sucked supplemented and unsupplemented cows. Cow milk production was higher in suckled than in milked cows and in supplemented than unsupplemented cows. Concentrations of milk protein, fat and total solids averaged 39 and 143 g/kg, respectively and were not significantly influenced by either concentrate supplementation or suckling. Restricted suckling and early weaning coupled with appropriate calf and cow feeding regimes could be one of the alternatives for calf rearing under smallholder and smallscale peri-urban dairy production systems. However, further studies are warranted to evaluate the effects of such a strategy on both calf and cow performances under these production systems

publication date

  • 1994