Investigating the Effects of Distillers Grains on Heifer Feeding Behavior in the Finishing Phase

Kaylie A. Huizenga, Joshua C. McCann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objective was to determine the effect of low inclusion levels of dried distillers grains (DDG) on feeding behavior in heifers consuming a high-moisture corn-based diet in the finishing phase. Simmental × Angus heifers (N = 90; 323 ± 50 kg) were fed for 180 d. Heifers were blocked by initial body weight (BW) into two groups, stratified by sire, and assigned to 15 pens with six heifers each. Pens were randomly assigned to one of three dietary treatments: 0% DDG inclusion (0DG), 7% DDG inclusion (7DG), or 14% DDG inclusion (14DG). Treatments did not affect (p > 0.59) BW, average daily gain, and gain:feed. Although there was a treatment × time effect (p = 0.05) for dry matter intake (DMI), with 0DG having greater DMI during the last 70 d, no differences in overall DMI were detected. Treatment affected (p < 0.01) bunk visit duration and head down duration, with 7DG and 14DG having less minutes per day. Bunk visit frequency (p = 0.02) was less variable for heifers fed 14DG and DMI tended (p = 0.08) to be less variable for both distillers treatments. While dietary inclusion of DDG has minimal effects on overall heifer performance, low levels of DDG inclusion can affect feeding behavior and intake variation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1905
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • Distillers grains
  • Feed behavior variation
  • Feeding behavior
  • Feedlot

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary(all)


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