Urea molasses mineral blocks as a feed supplement: Effect on growth and nutrient utilization in buffalo calves
Review articleOpen access

AbstractTwenty male buffalo calves of about 9–13 months of age were divided at random into five groups of four animals each. All the animals were individually offered wheat bhoosa (chopped straw) ad libitum and wheat bran and oil-extracted rice bran each at 500 g day−1. Calves of Groups 2, 3, 4 and 5 were given urea molasses mineral block (UMMB as lick) ad libitum. In addition, calves of Groups 3, 4 and 5 were supplemented with fish meal at the rate of 50, 100 and 150 g, respectively. The UMMB contained 38% molasses, 10% urea, 10% cement, 40% wheat bran, 1% salt and 1% mineral mixture. After a feeding period of 130 days, a metabolism trial of 7 days duration was conducted.The average daily dry matter intake was higher (P < 0.01) in Groups 2, 3, 4 and 5 than Group 1. The calves gained faster in Group 4 (288 g day−1) as compared with Groups 1 (90 g day−1), 2 (166 g day−1), 3 (179 g day−1) and 4 (275 g day−1). The digestibility coefficient of DM, OM, nitrogen, EE, ADF and NDF were significantly increased in groups supplemented with UMMB and fish meal. The balance of N was more (P < 0.05) in Groups 2 and 3 than Group 1 which further increased (P < 0.01) on supplementation of fish meal. Calcium and phosphorus balances were also increased (P < 0.01) as a result of supplementation of UMMB and fish meal.It may be concluded that the prevailing practice in the rural areas of developing countries of keeping growing calves solely on wheat bhoosa and a small amount of poor-grade concentrate is not satisfactory. This feed can be economically supplemented with UMMB and 100 g fish meal to maintain a fairly good growth rate for the calves.

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