Subsequent Productivity of Beef Heifers That Received Creep Feed for 0, 28, 56, or 84 d Before Weaning

D. D. Buskirk, D. B. Faulkner, F. A. Ireland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


Ninety Angus x Hereford rotational cross cows and their backcross heifer calves were used to evaluate the effects of length of time receiving creep feed on subsequent heifer fertility and milk production. Heifer calves (156 ± 16 d of age) were randomly assigned to receive creep feed for 0, 28, 56, or 84 d before weaning while nursing dams grazing endophyte-infected tall fescue, red clover pastures. All heifers were managed alike after the 84-d treatment period. Increasing the length of time receiving creep feed increased rate of gain by 0.33 kg/d when the heifers had access to creep for 84 d compared to controls (linear, P<0.0001). Length of time receiving creep feed influenced both hip height (quadratic, P<0.05) and fat thickness (linear and quadratic; P<0.05) at weaning. The percentage of heifers that were determined to be pubertal before the breeding season was linearly increased (P<0.05) by 30% as length of time receiving creep feed increased from 0 to 84 d. There were no differences among treatments in pregnancy rate or in the percentage of heifers that calved to an AI. Milk production, at 52 d postpartum, was depressed linearly (P<0.05) as time receiving creep feed increased, but was not different at 102 and 151 d of lactation. No difference in weight of calves was observed at 52, 102, 151, or 214 d of age. This study demonstrates that allowing replacement heifers ad libitum access to creep feed for up to 84 d increases weight gain to weaning thereby hastening puberty, but may suppresses subsequent milk production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-43
Number of pages7
JournalProfessional Animal Scientist
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 1996



  • Beef Cattle
  • Fertility
  • Heifers
  • Milk Production
  • Supplementary Feeding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology

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