The effects of levels of milking on lactation and growth of

  • J O Ouda
  • J K Kitilit
  • D Indetie
  • K.R G Irungu


Zebu cattle are an important source of commercial beef production in Kenya but produce milk mainly for subsistence. The current study was undertaken to determine the lactation performance of Boran zebu cattle and the effect of levels of milking on pre-weaning calf growth. Thirty-two nursing cows and their calves were used in a 4 x 2 factorial experiment. They were extensively grazed in a semi-arid environment (ecological zone IV). The treatments were: full suckling (FS), milking from 1 Quarter (M1Q), milking from 2 Quarters (M2Q) and milking from 3 Quarters (M3Q) of the udder. Each treatment had 8 calves, 4 of each sex. The calves were weaned at 210 days. Milk yield and live weight were measured once weekly. The mean lactation yield for 210 days was 849 kg. The milk butter fat content was 5.3%, protein content was 3.38 while ash content was 0.75%. The level of milking did not affect yield (P > 0.05). Calf weaning weights were 162 kg for FS, 160 kg for M1Q, 151 kg for M2Q and 118 kg for M3Q for males and 164, 143, 137 and 110 kg respectively for females. Milking lowered (P < 0.001) calf growth rate. Both calf sexes were similarly affected by the treatments. The growth rates of FS, M1Q and M2Q calves were similar. Calves in the M3Q group had a lower growth rate (P < 0.05) than those in other treatments. It is concluded that partial milking is beneficial and milking up to half of the total milk produced is recommended.

How to Cite
Ouda, J., Kitilit, J., Indetie, D., & Irungu, K. (2008). The effects of levels of milking on lactation and growth of. East African Agricultural and Forestry Journal, 67(1&2), 8. Retrieved from