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Forty Holstein calves were assigned at birth to a randomized complete block experiment to evaluate method of milk replacer feeding on growth, intake, and behavior of calves. Commercial medicated milk replacer was fed at 460 g/d in 4 L of water divided into 2 feedings per day from nipple bottles or in 8 feedings per day from a computerized milk feeding system. Calves were placed into one of two group pens containing 2 to 12 calves per pen at approximately 7 d of age for a 52-d trial. A separate outdoor exercise area was connected to each pen. Commercial calf starter (19.5% CP on a DM basis) was offered to each group of calves for ad libitum consumption. Intake of milk replacer was lower (13 g/d) when calves were fed by the computer feeder. Reduced intake of milk replacer in the computer feeder was caused by calves occasionally losing their neck chains and by computer malfunctions during the experiment. Body weight gain was increased by 120 g/d (698 vs 578) when calves were fed by the computer. Calves fed from the computer feeder had fewer incidences of inter-animal contact (n = 1) than calves fed from nipple bottles (n = 40) in the 1st h after each feeding. The computerized milk feeding system appears to be an effective and practical method feeding milk replacer to replacement calves.
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Reviewed by R. S. Adams and G. F. Hartnell.
© 1996 American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.