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Effects of transition milk on intestinal development of neonatal calves.

B. Van Soest




Effects of transition milk on intestinal development of neonatal calves.
B. Van Soest*, M. Weber Nielsen, A. Moeser, A. Abuelo Sebio, M. VandeHaar. Michigan State University East Lansing, MI.

Transition milk (TM, milk from the 2nd through 4th milkings after calving) feeding in the first week of life increases BW gain throughout the preweaning period. The objective of this study was to determine if TM enhances intestinal development compared with milk replacer (MR). We tested this idea on 23 newborn Holstein bull calves, born 6 different weekends within 12 h of each other per week. Calves were fed 2.8 L of colostrum within 15 min of birth randomly assigned to MR or TM treatments within block and fed treatments 3 times per day. TM was collected, pooled by milking number, and fed at 1.89 L (255 g DM) per feeding as follows: milking 2 at feedings 2 to 5, milking 3 at feedings 6 to 8, and milking 4 at feedings 9 to 12. In this study, TM was not pasteurized and had an average composition of 30% fat and 39% protein on a DM basis and 20 g IgG/L. Calves fed MR received 275 g DM MR (21% fat and 27% protein) at all 12 feedings. Both treatments had average refusals of 10%. At 0730 h on d 5, calves were injected IV with 5 mg of bromodeoxyuridine per kg BW and euthanized 130 min later. Sections of the duodenum, proximal jejunum, mid jejunum, and ileum were excised to evaluate morphology. Compared with MR, TM nearly doubled villus length, villus width, villus to crypt ratio, and mucosal length in all sections (P < 0.01 for all). Compared with MR, TM increased submucosal thickness 70% in the proximal and mid jejunum (P < 0.001) and tended to increase submucosal thickness in duodenum and ileum (P < 0.1). Treatment did not alter crypt depth. In all sections, labeling with bromodeoxyuridine was increased 50% (P < 0.01 for all) by TM compared with MR in the cells along the epithelium of the crypts and within the villi, indicating that TM increased cell proliferation compared with MR. We conclude that feeding TM enhances development of the small intestine in the first few days of life compared with MR. This increased development might explain why calves fed TM compared with MR in the first 4 d of life grow faster.

Keywords: calf, transition milk, intestinal development.

Biography: Brandon Van Soest is presenting a portion of his master's thesis work looking at the effects of feeding calves transition milk for the first few days of like. He received his Bachelor's degree from Purdue University in Animal Sciences, a Master's Degree from Michigan State University in Dairy Nutrition and pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Guelph. Brandon enjoys fishing in both fresh and saltwater in his spare time.