Analysis of two alternative management systems for the production of fall born beef calves in western Oregon Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/h989r592r

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  • Two management systems were evaluated in terms of the effects on calf growth, on calf weight produced per cow per year, and on reproductive performance of fall calving cows. The alternative management systems tested were twin foster calf production and, delayed weaning, production of single suckled calves weaned at the end of the spring forage production season. Fall born calves which were single suckled and weaned at approximately 200 days of age served as controls. An evaluation of the effects of twin fostering on maternal-filial behavior and of the effects of cross suckling on calf growth in early life was also conducted. Delayed weaning was evaluated as a model for the demonstration of the effects of metabolizable protein intake on calf growth. Calves used in these studies were born during September and October of 1979. Control (C) calves were weaned at approximately 200 days of age, twin forster (TW) and delayed weaned (DW) single calves were weaned at approximately 291 days of age. Twin fostering resulted in calves 39 kg lighter at 200 days of age than single suckled calves (P < .001). By 291 days after fostering, Holstein and beef twin fosters were not significantly lighter than C calves. At 365 days after fostering, Holstein twin fosters and C calves did not differ significantly in weight, DW singles were heavier than all other groups. At 200, 291 and 365 days after fostering, TW cows had produced 39, 67 and 69% more total calf weight than C cows, respectively. TW cows required 391% more supplement to effect winter weight and body condition changes similar to those of C cows. Fostering, in this study, was not found to effect reproductive performance of cows. Observations of nursing/suckling activity in the twin foster herd were taken on days 71, 77 and 175 after fostering. Calf growth rates between fostering and day 77 and between days 77 and 175 were compared with percent cross suckling estimated for the appropriate periods. On days 71 and 77, percent cross suckling was 40.8% on day 175 percent cross suckling was 21.3%. The decrease in cross suckling over time was associated with a proportional decrease in suckling frequency and an increase in forage and creep intake by calves. The correlation between percent cross suckling and average daily gain (ADG) was -.73 at day 77. Variability in calf growth declined with age. The high degree of cross suckling observed was probably due to the time lapse between removal of the newborn calf and its replacement with foster calves.
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