The performance of female dairy calves fed texturized starters with different protein sources

E. Yavuz1, N. Todorov1*, G. Ganchev1, K. Nedelkov2

1Departmet of Morphology, Physiology and Animal Nutrition, Faculty of Agriculture, Trakia University, 6000 Stara Zagora, Bulgaria 2Department of Animal Husbandry, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Trakia University, 6000 Stara Zagora, Bulgaria

Abstract. The aim of the experiment was to determine the effect of inclusion of dry distillers grain with solubles (DDGS) and canola meal, as replacement of soybean meal and sunflower meal in textured starter feed for dairy calves. The second object was to compare two starters with the same ingredient and nutrient content composed of whole maize grain (WMG) plus protein concentrate, versus mixture of WMG, pelleted DDGS, pelleted canola meal, and pelleted mineral- vitamin premix. A seventy-day experiment was carried out with 30 Black and White female calves weighing 39 kg at birth. Each calf received 2 L of high quality colostrum (above 50 mg immunoglobulin/L) three times during the first day and 2 L colostrum three times at the second day after birth. From 3 to 35 days of age, calves were fed 3 L pasteurized whole unsalable milk twice daily and from 36 to 56 days of age – once daily. Calves were allocated to three treatments based on the day of birth and weight at birth. The calves received texturized starter feed with different composition: 1) 50% whole maize grain (WMG) + 50% pelleted protein concentrate with soybean meal, DDGS and sunflower meal as protein sources for the first group (pBDS); 2) 50% WMG + 50% pelleted protein concentrate withDDGSandcanolamealforthesecondgroup(pDC);3)50%WMG+24.1%pelletedDDGS+23.4%,pelletedcanolameal +2.5%pelleted mineral-vitaminpremix forthethirdgroup(DCVp).Crudeprotein(CP)contentofallthreestarterswas19.0to19.6%.From1to35daysofagetheaverage daily gain (ADG) was 606, 580 and 569 g respectively for pBDS, pDC and DCVp groups, and did not differ (P>0.05) among treatments. From 36 to 56 days of age the ADG was 719, 710 and 695 g (P>0.05), and from 57 to 70 days 971, 964 and 943 g (P>0.05) respectively for pBDS, pDC and DCVp groups. There were no significant differences in feed efficiency, fecal score, health status and behavior of calves receiving different starter feeds. Results of this trial indicated that it is possible to replace soybean meal plus sunflower meal with canola meal and dry distillers grain with solubles, without significant changes of ADG, feed efficiency and health status of calves. Performance of calves was approximately equal when fed DDGS and canola meal as ingredients of pelleted protein concentrate or as separate ingredient in a starter mixture of WMG, pelleted DDGS, pelleted CM and pelleted mineral-vitamin premix. When pelleted DDGS and pelleted canola meal is available, it is possible to use them directly as components of starter, instead of buying protein concentrate with the same protein sources. Starter feed containing whole maize grain, pelleted DDGS, pelleted canola meal, and pelleted mineral-vitamin premix was the cheapest, compared to the other tested starter feeds.