Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Rude, Brian J.

Committee Member

Smith, Trent

Committee Member

Karisch, Brandi B.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access



Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences


Researchers have investigated several factors that could alter fetal growth, including nutrient restriction (Valiente et al., 2021), hair shedding (Gray et al., 2011), and extreme hot and cold temperatures (Davidson et al., 2022). Hot temperatures and increased humidity percentages in the southeast United States caused researchers to investigate the hair coats of Angus cattle in the commercial production setting. An improvement in fiber digestibility and calf birth and weaning weights has been observed in Angus dams that shed 50% of the winter hair coat by May (Gray et al., 2011; Burnett et al., 2021). Our objective of this experiment was to investigate the nutrient digestibility of Angus calves born to cows that on average, shed early compared to calves from cows that shed later. Newly weaned, purebred Angus bull calves (early; n = 6, late; n = 6) were housed in metabolism crates for 10 d. Prior to the trial, calves had a 14 d adaption period to a 14% CP textured feed (CPC 14% Developer, CPC Commodities, Fountain Run, KY) and offered ad libitum Cynodon dactlyon hay and water. After 3 d crate acclimation period, urine, feces, orts, and hay samples were collected for 7 d. Concentrate was offered at 0.25% of average BW. Approximately 5% samples were taken of feces, and urine samples had 1-1.5% of 25% metaphosphoric acid added to prevent ammonia volatilization, and both collections were composited by animal. Orts were collected at 0600 h daily, dried, and composited by animal. Laboratory analysis included dry matter (DM), organic matter (OM), Ash, neutral detergent fiber (NDF), acid detergent fiber (ADF), Kjeldahl N (CP), and fat. Data were analyzed using the GLM procedure of SAS 9.4 in a completely randomized design with calf as the experimental unit. Significant (P ≤ 0.05) means were separated using Fischer’s protected LSD. The model for intake included average daily DM and OM (kg) and adjusted by body weight (BW%). For digestibility analysis, the model included: DM, OM, ash, NDF, ADF, hemi-cellulose (HC), CP, and fat. The N retention model included: N retained (g/d), N retained/consumed (%), and N retained/DM intake (%). There were no differences between early or late calves for DM intake (5.502 ± 0.2774 kg/d; 2.251 ± 0.1247 %BW), or OM intake (5.199 ± 0.2591 kg/d; 2.128 ± 0.1166 %BW). There were no differences in digestibility for either group for DM, OM, Ash, NDF, ADF, HC, CP, or fat (Table 1.). There were also no differences in N retention in either group of calves (3.686 ± 2.0242 g/d; 4.366 ± 2.3964 %; 0.064 ± 0.0355 %). Replication and further research are needed in this area to adequately understand factors influencing nutrient digestibility in calves born from early and late shedding dams.