The objective of this study was to assess how pre-weaning milk allowance influences the grazing and rumination behaviour of dairy heifers on pasture after weaning. Group-housed heifer calves (n=28) were fed milk replacer at a low-allowance (LA; 10% of initial live weight), high-allowance (HA; 20% of initial live weight), and ad-libitum (ADLIB; free access) until 93 days of age. Heifers were then given access to pasture at 100 days of age, and were observed at 101, 108, 122 and 127 days of age. At 101 days of age, LA calves spent more time ruminating than HA and ADLIB calves, and spent less time grazing than HA calves (P<0.05). The time spent on each activity in subsequent weeks was the same among treatments. This indicates that any differences in foraging and rumination behaviour caused by pre-weaning milk allowance disappeared within a few weeks after weaning.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 79, Palmerston North, 84-86, 2019
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