Review Article| Volume 11, ISSUE 2, P88-94, June 1995

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Effect of Feather Meal and Blood Meal Supplementation on Performance of Dairy Cattle

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      Twenty early lactating dairy cattle were used in a lactation study to compare responses to five total mixed ration diets containing various combinations of protein supplements (DM basis): 1) control diet, 18.8% soybean meal (SBM); 2) 4.0% feather meal (FM)+12.0% SBM; 3) 8.0% FM+5.9% SBM; 4) 4.0% FM+4.0% blood meal (BM)+5.0% SBM; or 5) 4.0% FM+4.8% SBM. Diets 1 to 4 contained 17.0% CP and diet 5 contained 14.0% CP (low protein diet). Dry matter intake was depressed (P<.05) with diets containing FM, but milk production was similar for all diets except the low protein diet. The FCM did not differ among treatments. Milk fat percentage did not differ significantly, whereas milk protein percentage was depressed with most of FM-containing diets except for diet 2. Changes in body weight did not differ due to diet. Plasma urea nitrogen was lower for the low protein diet than for the other diets. These results imply that adequate milk production and composition can be maintained on diets containing up to 4.0% FM. In a second study, 75 Holstein calves were fed one of five diets to study the response to FM incorporation in calf starter grain diets fed from birth through 12 wk of age. Diet ingredients were the same except for the protein supplements, which were 1) control diet, 18.3% SBM; 2) 2.9% FM+13.4% SBM; 3) 5.3% FM+9.4% SBM; 4) 8.0% FM+5.1% SBM; 5) 5.3% FM+3.0% BM+4.9% SBM. Calves were fed milk until 6 wk of age. Dry matter intakes varied widely, but were not significantly different. There was a tendency for calves fed diets containing 5.3% FM (diets 3 and 5) to have greater daily gains. This tendency was due to greater growth rate for calves fed diets 3 and 5 from 8 to 12 wk. Averaged daily gains of calves during the last 4-wk period were: .85, .80, .94, .77, and .93 kg/d for diets 1 to 5, respectively.

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