Effect of feeding ensiled maize grain on rumen development and calf rearing performance
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National Research Institute of Animal Production, Department of Genetic Resources Conservation, 32-083 Balice, Poland
National Research Institute of Animal Production, Department of Animal Nutrition and Feed Science, 32-083 Balice, Poland
University of Agriculture in Kraków, Department of Animal Nutrition, al. Mickiewicza 24/28, 30-059 Kraków, Poland
The Kielanowski Institute of Animal Physiology and Nutrition, Polish Academy of Sciences, 05-110 Jabłonna, Poland
Jagiellonian University, Collegium Medicum, Department of Pathomorphology, Grzegórzewska 12, 31-531 Krakow, Poland
Publication date: 2010-05-07
Corresponding author
J. Strzetelski   

National Research Institute of Animal Production, Department of Animal Nutrition and Feed Science, 32-083 Balice, Poland
J. Anim. Feed Sci. 2010;19(2):195-210
The aim of the study was to determine the effect of replacing barley grain or dry maize (50% by weight) in feed mixtures for calves with ensiled high-moisture maize grain on ruminal and postruminal digestibility of starch, rumen development parameters and rearing performance of calves. The experiment was carried out with 40 bull calves aged between 10 ± 3 and 90 days divided into 4 groups of 10 animals per group. The main source of dietary starch was barley in the control group (B), dry maize grain in group MD, 50% barley and 50% ensiled maize grain in group BMS, and 50% dry maize grain and 50% ensiled maize grain in group MDMS. The results obtained show that rolled ensiled maize grain can be successfully used in diets for calves reared from 10 to 90 days of age to replace (50% by weight) dry rolled barley or maize grain. However, slightly better production results were obtained when feeding a barley and ensiled maize grain diet, which is probably due to the better intestinal digestibility of protein and starch, as shown by higher intestinal digestibility coefficients of protein and starch as well as lower faecal starch losses. The addition of ensiled maize grain to the diets did not cause significant changes in rumen fermentation, although there was a slight increase in total VFA concentration and proportion of butyric acid, a reduction in pH of rumen fluid, and calves tended to have higher serum β-hydroxybutyric acid concentrations at 10 and 12 weeks of age. The replacement of dry grains with ensiled maize grain in the diets for calves did not have an unambiguously favourable effect on rumen papillae development while improving wall thickness of the ventral ruminal sac.
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