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The effect of early weaning upon the liveweight gain of cows and calves

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Authors: L.G. Hidalgo, S.S. Callejas, M.A. Cauhépé, M.J. Otero
Issue: 98A-3 (347-354)
Topic: Animal Production
Keywords: Early weaning, pluriparous cows and calves

Thirty pluriparous beef cows and their calves were used to evaluate the effect of early weaning upon live weight change in both cows and calves. All cows calved between january 1 and february 15. Cows were randomly assigned to early weaning (EW) and control (C) groups. Early weaning was carried out (day = 0, november 28) 27 days after the start of service. Calves EW and C, weights 86.7 ± 5.7 and 82.5 ± 3.5 (x ± sd, kg) respectively. Cows were grazing on a native pasture (a complex array of hydromorphic and halophytic communities). EW calves were self‑fed with a corn‑wheat concentrate diet during ten days, then were moved to pasture with tall fescue (Festuca urundinacea) and white clover (Trifolium repens) where a concentrare with corn-wheat (40%) and sunflower meal (extracted; 60%) was available. Calves were weighed at 0, 10, 20, 36, 85 and 149 days, and cows at 0, 20 and 85 days. Liveweight data were analysed using the Repeated Measures in time method. EW cows were significantly (p < 0.05) heavier than controls by 25 kg ± 0.62. At the beginning C calves gained more weight (p < 0.05) than EW, however, between 85 and 149 days there were no differences (p > 0.05). At the end of the period (may 15 = date of weaning), C calves were 19 kg ± 2.7 heavier than EW calves. In summary, higher live weight were observed in early weaning cows. Early weaning calves at weaning had lower liveweight gains.

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