The bigger the calf the better the cow true or false?
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CTA. 1990. The bigger the calf the better the cow true or false?. Spore 26. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/45254
Calves often get only half of the milk produced by their mothers in African pastoral and agropastoral systems; the rest goes to the animals' owners. Up till now it had been thought that these calves, which are weaned when still small, would reach...
Calves often get only half of the milk produced by their mothers in African pastoral and agropastoral systems; the rest goes to the animals' owners. Up till now it had been thought that these calves, which are weaned when still small, would reach puberty later and thus have a shortened period of productivity. ILCA (International Livestock Centre for Africa) has been carrying out a study to test this hypothesis in semi-arid regions of Ethiopia, in collaboration with SORDU (the Southern Rangelands Development Unit of the Ethiopian Third Livestock Development Project), and CARE Ethiopia. The results suggest that supplementing a calf's diet for seven months during the first year does not lead to sustainable accelerated growth. Supplemented calves are considerably heavier at weaning, but this advantage disappears by the time the animals reach their third birthday and both groups reach puberty at the same age. Initial results suggest that strategic supplementation will not have a significant or sustainable effect. Patterns of cattle growth also indicate that the traditional production system is quite efficient it provides milk for people yet skill produces viable young stock that eventually attain weights equal to those of calves fee all the milk produced by their mothers. Furthermore, weaning weight is not a reliable indicator of future performance in unstable environments. Dr D Layne Coppack - ILCA PO Box 5689 - Addis Ababa - ETHIOPIA
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