Effects of restricted suckling on forage intake of range calves

TitleEffects of restricted suckling on forage intake of range calves
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1996
AuthorsSowell B.F., Wallace J.D., Branine M.E., Hubbert M.E., Fredrickson E.L., Bowman J.G.
JournalJournal of Range Management
Date Published1996
Keywordsblue grama, Bouteloua gracilis, buffalograss, cow, feeding behavior, milk intake, milk restriction, rangelands

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.