Date of Award
Master of Science
Monty J. Montgomery
O. Richardson, K. Robbins
In a 2 X 2 factorial- experiment thirty-two Holstein calves were randomly allotted to two housing systems, (1) bedded pens in a closed bam and (2) outdoor calf hutches. Individual pens in a mechanically ventilated barn were utilized for the initial 18 weeks. At 19 weeks of age, calves were moved to group pens and remained there until 30 weeks old.
Housing system had no effect (P > 0.05) on body weight gains of calves for the first 18 weeks of age. However, significant differences (P < 0.05) were found when heifers were moved to group pens. Higher body weight gains were observed for heifers housed indoors than for those housed outdoors.
The method of housing did not affect height, heart girth, or length measurements.
Cottonseed hulls complete rations were compared to corn silage complete rations. The cottonseed hull ration consisted of two stages: stage A contained 20 percent cottonseed hulls, 60 percent com and 20 percent soybean meal; stage B consisted of 43 percent cottonseed hulls, 43 percent corn, and 14 percent soybean meal. Stage A was fed ad libitum to calves from the first month of age up to approximately 300 pounds body weight. Stage B was fed ad libitum to heifers which achieved approximately 300 pounds, and continued to 30 weeks. Com silage complete ration consisted of a 3:1 ratio of com silage plus pelleted grain mix containing 18 percent crude protein, fed ad libitum.
Significant differences (P < 0.05) were detected for dry matter intake, body weight, and body measurements between rations 1 and 2. Greater body weight gains were observed from the use of ration 1. Ration 1 containing cottonseed hulls resulted in greater dry matter, crude protein, and acid detergent fiber intake.
Differences in nominal volatile fatty acids, acetate, propionate, and valerate were significant. Molar percentages of propionate were higher in heifers fed ration 1.
The housing system did not affect the incidence of scours or pneumonia. Outdoor hutches required less bedding. Feeding calves housed in outdoor hutches was less comfortable for the operator during the winter.
Calves from 3 days to 18 weeks of age reared in outdoor calf hutches had growth rates comparable to those housed in a conventional bam.
When economically feasible, cottonseed hulls are recommended as a fiber source.
Chaverri-Oller, Pedro, "Comparison of corn silage and cottonseed hulls in complete rations for calves in confinement housing and outdoor calf hutches. " Master's Thesis, University of Tennessee, 1982.