Scottish red deer research has defined under hill and upland conditions the relationship that exists between the winter growth rate of stag calves and their performance at grass the following summer (Adam, 1986; Blaxter et al, 1988). With the increasing movement of stag calves to the lowlands of England and Wales, and an expansion in finishing units in these areas, such a relationship needs re-defining to take account of the differences in climate, length of growing season and grass supply. This trial investigates the effect of two growth rates over winter on the overall performance of stag calves, both on hay and silage based rations, under lowland conditions.
Forty red deer stag calves approximately 4 months of age and weighing 40 kg liveweight were purchased from Scotland in September 1988. They were housed in one group and fed a common ration of ad libitum hay + 1 kg of a proprietary 18% CP compound per head per day from arrival on 26 September until 9 November 1988.