Discipline: Animal Science
The study evaluated the use of a commercial milk replacer as substitute to raw milk in nursing buffalo calves. Sixteen buffalo calves with an average age of 10 days and average live weight of 42.4 kg were fed with raw milk (T1-control) and milk replacer(T2) up to weaning of 90 days. The calves were kept in individual elevated calf hutch as provided with rice straw beddings. Eight hundred (800) grams of milk replacer powder were freshly diluted with 4 liters of warm water (38-40oC) that constituted the daily meal requirement of each calf. Two liters raw milk or milk replacer solution were offered in the morning and the remaining two liters was allotted for the afternoon meal. Results showed that calves fed with milk substitute had significantly lower final live weight of 97.7 kg compared to raw milk fed calves with 107.2 kg. The ADG (617 g) of calves fed milk substitute did not significantly differ from those given raw buffalo milk (711 g). The milk and concentrate intake among calves did not differ significantly between treatments. The 4 liters milk ration/calf in the form of raw milk or milk replacer solution was just enough to meet the daily feed requirements of the animals. No major health problem was observed among calves fed with the milk substitute. Using milk replacer as substitute to raw milk in calf rearing resulted to lower feed cost (Php114.60 vs PhP162.80). A daily savings of 29.61% (PhP48.20/calf) was attained in calves fed the milk replacer. The feed cost per kilogram gain in weight of calves fed with milk replacer was reduced by 18.91% (PhP43.30).