The effect of soybean hull as a fiber source in suckling calves starter on ‎performance, blood metabolites and nutrients digestibility ‎

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Former M. Sc. Student, Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Mohaghegh Ardabili, Ardabil, Iran

2 Associate Professor, Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Mohaghegh Ardabili, Ardabil, Iran

3 Assistant Professor, Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Mohaghegh Ardabili, Ardabil, Iran

4 Ph. D. Candidate, Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Mohaghegh Ardabili, Ardabil, Iran


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of soybean hull as fiber source on growth performance, some blood metabolites, and nutrients digestibility in Holstein suckling calves. Thirty-two Holstein (male and female) calves (average weight 40 kg ± 0.5) were selected and allocated to one of the four treatments with 8 replicates in a completely randomized design for 75 days. Treatments were: 1) basal diet with 10% alfalfa from 40 days old, 2) basal diet with 10% alfalfa hay from 1 day of old, 3) basal diet with 5% alfalfa + 5% soybean hull from 1 day old and 4) basal diet with 10% soybean hull from 1 day of old. The results showed that experimental treatments had a significant effect on final body weight of calves on the end of the period. Daily weight gain was highest for treatment 4 (basal diet with 5% soybean and 5% alfalfa from 1 day) in the second month and total period of breeding and for treatment 3 (basal diet with 10% soybean hull from 1 day old) in the first month (P<0.05). The use of forage and non-forage fibers in the basal diet of calves had not significant effect on feed intake and feed conversion ratio. Experimental diets did not affect significantly body growth parameters (breast, body length and body height) (P<0.05).The experimental diets had no effect on blood cholesterol, albumin, total protein and urea. However, glucose, triglyceride and beta hydroxy butyrate (BHBA) concentrations were affected by experimental diets (P<0.05). The source of non-forage fiber and forage had no significant effect on the digestibility of dry matter, crude fat and nutral detergent fiber whereas digestibility of crude protein and non-fibrous carbohydrates affected significantly (P<0.05). The results of this study suggested that replacement of alfalfa hay with soy hull as fiber source had no adverse effect on blood parameters and growth performance and it can be considered as a fiber source for sucking calves.


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