Feed intake and growth of Saanen kids weaned at 42 and 70 days of age
The effect of weaning age (42 vs. 70 days) on the feed intake and growth performance from seven to 140 days of age was investigated, using 58 male Saanen kids. Final body weight, average daily gain and feed conversion efficiency did not differ significantly between weaning ages during the creep (days 7-80), growth diet (days 81-140) or the total (days 7-140) experimental periods. Only feed intake, cumulative feed intake, dry matter (DM) intake and cumulative DM intake differed significantly in the creep (days 7-80) period. The creep intake (days 7-80) of the 42 day weaning treatment was 48%, which was significantly higher than the 70 day treatment due to creep feed replacing milk intake. Corresponding with a feed intake of 240 g/day and a total metabolisable energy intake of 295 ± 1.4 MJ/kid over the 7 to 42 day period, the kids underwent no post-weaning shock in terms of their growth performance and had the same final weight (29.9 ± 2.0 kg) as the 70 day weaning treatment at 140 days of age. ©South African Society for Animal Science.