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EC Obioma1
MN Ndubisi1
CC Ogbu
EN Nwachukwu
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EC Obioma1
MN Ndubisi1
CC Ogbu
EN Nwachukwu
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Global Journal of Animal Breeding and Genetics

ISSN: 2408-5502 Vol. 3 (3), pp. 129-138

Full Length Research Paper 

Effect of creep feeding of different protein sources on growth studies of bull calves in a rainforest environment 

*E. N. Nwachukwu1, C. C. Ogbu2, M. N. Ndubisi1 and E. C. Obioma1 

1Department of Animal Breeding and Physiology, College of Animal Science and Animal Production, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State.

2 Department of Animal Health and Production, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State

*Corresponding author. Email: ennwachuk@yahoo.com 

Accepted 25 February, 2015 

Abstract

Objectives of the study were to evaluate the effects of creep feeding and sources of crude protein on growth performance of beef bull calves. Nine crossbred (N’dama x White Fulani) nursing bull calves, 3 months of age, and 49.67 ± 1.86 to 52.04 ± 1.86 kg body weight were used for the study. Two diets: A and B having groundnut cake and soybean meal as main sources of crude protein, respectively were formulated for the study. The animals were randomly allotted to three treatments namely T1 or control (no creep feeding, NCF), T2 or creep feeding with diet A (CFA), and T3 diet B (CFB). Creep feed was offered between 06:00 and 09:30h daily. Thereafter, the animals were allowed to graze alongside and suckle their dam. Concentrate feeding was increased by 0.25 kg daily until 1.0 kg/animal/day. Calves belonging to the same treatment were fed separately but within sight of their dams and other calves. Data analyzed include body weight (BWT), body length (BLT), height at withers (HTW), heart girth (HGT), head circumference (HDC) and body condition score (BCS) at different ages. Gain in BWT (BWG), linear body traits and BCS were computed for each group. Results showed significant (P<0.05) effect of creep feeding and source of crude protein on BWT, BWG, and BCS but not on linear body traits. Calves fed CFB were significantly heavier than those fed CFA which in turn was superior to the control from week20 to 28 of age. Significant and positive correlation existed between BWT and HTW, BLT and HGT, BLT and BWT, BWT and BCS, and BLT and HDC at different age periods while HTW was negatively related to BCS. It was concluded that creep feeding influenced growth parameters and BCS of calves and that soybean meal was better than groundnut cake as source of crude protein for creep ration in calves. 

Keywords: Creep feeding, growth traits, protein sources, body condition score, hybrid beef calves.