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CC Ogbu
EN Nwachukwu
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FO Ahamefule
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Global Journal of Animal Breeding and Genetics

ISSN: 2408-5502 Vol. 3 (3), pp. 139-145, March, 2015. 

Full Length Research Paper 

Effect of creep feeding on growth, haematology and serum biochemistry of bull calves reared in a humid tropical environment 

*E. N. Nwachukwu1, C. C. Ogbu2, F. O. Ahamefule1 and E. A. Antia1 

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: ennwachuk@yahoo.com 

Accepted 27 February, 2015 

Abstract 

The study was designed to evaluate the effect of creep feeding on growth performance, haematological and serum biochemical profile of crossbred beef bull calves grazed on native forages alongside their dams. Nine crossbred (N’dama x White Fulani) nursing bull calves, 4-5 months of age, weighing 51.50 ± 4.94 to 57.67 ± 4.94 kg were used for the study. Two creep diets namely CFA having soya bean as main source of crude protein and CFB having groundnut cake as main source of crude protein were formulated for the experiment. The animals were weighed and then randomly allotted to one of three treatments (3 calves/treatment) namely treatment one (T1) or control (no creep supplementation), treatment 2 (T2) or creep supplementation with CFA, and treatment 3 (T3) or creep feeding with CFB. Calves were fed the creep diet at 3% of their weekly body weight between 06:00 and 09:30h daily. Thereafter each animal was allowed to suckle and graze alongside the dam in the farm grazing area. Calves belonging to each of the treatment groups were fed separately. Data collected were body weight changes (BWT), weekly weight gain (BWG), daily feed intake (DFI), cumulative feed intake (CumFI) and feed conversion ratio (FCR), as well as haematological and serum biochemical values. Results showed that creep feeding significantly influenced overall body weight gainand some blood and serum biochemical variables but not weekly body weightand final body weight.Source of crude protein influenced BWG, CumFI, FCR and some blood and serum biochemical variables but not weekly body weights and final body weights of calves. Generally, blood and serum biochemical values obtained were within normal rangesshowing that there were no adverse effects of creep feeding or source of protein on the animals. It was therefore, concluded that the practice of creep feeding of calves should be adopted to enhance their growth rate and fattening performance in the study environment and that groundnut cake was a better crude protein source for calves used in the study. 

Keywords: Creep feeding, hybrid bull calves, growth parameters, blood indices, serumbiochemistry.