Physical form of starter affects intake

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A new study shows calves prefer texturized starter, but their feed efficiency may be better on a pelleted diet. The study, published in the June Journal of Dairy Science, found that overall starter intake was greater for calves fed a texturized starter than calves fed a pelleted form. From 12 to 64 days of age, the texturized treatment group ate about 13.5 pounds more starter per calf than the pelleted group. Both starters had the same ingredients and nutrient composition. However, because final bodyweight was similar between both treatment groups, the feed efficiency of the pelleted-fed calves was actually better than the texturized starter group. In other words, they achieved the same amount of growth using less starter.

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