Journal Article


D A Kenny
P Lonergan
C Staub
M Cirot
A M English
S Fair
C J Byrne


Physiotherapy & Sport

standard deviation ad libitum concentrate holstein friesian production age composition growth characteristics body composition body weight

Plane of nutrition before and after 6 months of age in Holstein-Friesian bulls: I. Effects on performance, body composition, age at puberty, and postpubertal semen production. (2017)

Abstract The aim of this study was to examine the effect of plane of nutrition (1) during the first 6 mo of life and (2) from 6 mo of age to puberty on early growth characteristics, age at puberty, and postpubertal semen production in Holstein-Friesian bulls. Holstein-Friesian bull calves (n = 83) with a mean (standard deviation) age and body weight of 17 (4.4) d and 52 (6.2) kg, respectively, were assigned to a high (Hi) or low (Lo) plane of nutrition for the first 6 mo of life. The Hi and Lo calves received 1,200 and 450 g of milk replacer, respectively; Hi calves were fed concentrate ad libitum and Lo were fed a maximum of 1 kg concentrate daily, and concentrate allowances remained the same after weaning. At 24 wk of age, bulls were reassigned within treatment to either remain on the same diet or to switch to the opposite diet until puberty, resulting in 4 treatment groups: Hi-Hi, Hi-Lo, Lo-Lo, and Lo-Hi. After puberty, all bulls were fed a moderate plane of nutrition until 60 wk of age; thereafter, the diet was ad libitum concentrates until slaughter at 72 wk of age. Bulls were weighed weekly before weaning and every 2 wk after weaning. Scrotal circumference (SC) was measured every 2 wk, beginning at 15 wk of age. Beginning at a SC of 24 cm, electro-ejaculation was carried out every 2 wk to establish the onset of puberty. Semen collection continued monthly after puberty. Thermal images of the scrotum were taken monthly from 28 to 36 wk of age. Scrotal skin thickness (SST) was measured monthly (from 16 wk of age to puberty) using a digital calipers. Bulls on the Hi diet had a higher scrotal temperature and SST at each time point than those on the Lo diet. Average daily gain (ADG) was greatest in Hi-Hi bulls, with Hi-Lo and Lo-Hi having similar ADG but both being greater than Lo-Lo. Bulls on the Hi diet pre-6 mo of age were younger at puberty, regardless of diet offered post-6 mo of age. Bulls offered a Hi diet post-6 mo were heavier at puberty. Neither scrotal temperature nor dietary treatment affected postpubertal semen production variables. In conclusion, a high plane of nutrition during the first 6 mo of age hastened the onset of puberty and the availability of saleable semen, regardless of plane of nutrition post-6 mo of age.
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Full list of authors on original publication

D A Kenny, P Lonergan, C Staub, M Cirot, A M English, S Fair, C J Byrne

Experts in our system

D.A. Kenny
Total Publications: 138
P. Lonergan
University College Dublin
Total Publications: 190
A M English
Total Publications: 11
Seán Fair
University of Limerick
Total Publications: 54
C J Byrne
Total Publications: 11