The University of Arizona

Effects of restricted suckling on forage intake of range calves.

B.F. Sowell, J.D. Wallace, M.E. Branine, M.E. Hubbert, E.L. Fredrickson, J.G.P. Bowman


Twenty two-year-old primiparous Angus X Hereford cows and their heifer calves were used to study effects of milk consumption on calf performance, suckling behavior, and forage intake. Ten cow-calf pairs were allotted to each of 2 treatments on blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis [H.B.K.] Lag.) rangeland. Calves from 5 cows were prevented from suckling the rear udder quarters for 4 weeks to reduce milk intake by 32% when calves averaged 71 +/- 4 days of age. The other 5 calves were allowed to suckle normally. Four 12-day sampling periods were conducted from June through September. Calves from the control treatment weighed more (P < 0.05) than restricted calves in each period and at weaning. Calves from the restricted treatment did not (P > 0.10) suckle longer or more frequently than control calves during any sampling period. Forage organic matter intake was not (P > 0.10) different between cows or calves from either group at any date. Milk production was not different (P > 0.10) between groups 1 month after restriction periods were terminated. Calves on 4 week milk restriction did not increase forage organic matter intake and had decreased weaning weights compared to control animals.


restricted feeding;suckling;physical activity;calves;body weight;fiber content;feeding behavior;voluntary intake;digestibility;digesta;Bouteloua gracilis;nitrogen content;biomass;New Mexico;beef cattle;forage;feed intake

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