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Effect of restricted consumption of water and(or) dry matter in milk replacer on growth by male and female Alpine kids

A. L. Goetsch, R. Puchala, M. Lachica, T. Sahlu, and L. J. Dawson

Journal of Animal and Feed Sciences. 9:317-324. 2000.

A concern of many goat producers is feeding management in the first few months of life for kids removed from does soon after birth. Dairy goats are typically not allowed to nurse kids to prevent transfer of potential diseases, in addition to useof milk for human consumption. Also, suboptimal mothering ability of and(or) milk production by high fiber- and meat-producing goats can result in orphan kids, often twins and triplets. Current management systems do not facilitate rapid transition at weaning from milk replacer or milk to dry feed. In some instances, milk replacer is offered at relatively high levels (e.g., free-choice) for much of the pre-weaning period, which may retard kid interest in and consumption of dry feeds. This could result from the physical filling effect of milk, primarily relating to milk volume, and also to energy and nutrients being supplied. Hence, development of management systems for milk replacer that promote a quick transition to dry feeds are of considerable interest. Furthermore, because of differences in growth potential, such feeding practices might differ between female and male kids. Objectives of this experiment were to determine effects of restricted consumption of water and(or) dry matter in milk replacer on growth of male and female Alpine kids. Seventy-nine Alpine kids (35 female and 44 male) were used in the experiment, beginning at 3 to 9 days after birth with a commercial milk replacer fed twice daily. Treatments entailed consumed free-choice consumption (AS/AV), restricted consumption of water (AS/RV), or restricted consumption of both water and dry matter (RS/RV). Live weight gain was lowest among treatments for RS/RV in weeks 1 to 4 (146, 131, and 118 g/day) and 5 to 8 (137, 140, and 115 g/day for AS/AV, AS/RV, and RS/RV, respectively). However, sex influenced treatment effects on live weight gain in weeks 1 to 8 (female: 129, 120, and 117 g/day, and male: 155, 151, and 116 g/day for AS/AV, AS/RV, and RS/RV, respectively). Milk replacer treatment did not affect live weight gain in the subsequent 4-week period after weaning. In summary, restricting intake of water alone in milk replacer did not enhance live weight gain of Alpine kids, and lower growth potential of female vs male kids may lessen susceptibility to effects of limited milk replacer dry matter intake.


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