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Effects of transition milk on postnatal growth and health of neonatal calves.

B. Van Soest



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Effects of transition milk on postnatal growth and health of neonatal calves.
B. Van Soest*, M. Weber Nielsen, J. Laguna, Z. Zhou, A. Abuelo Sebio, M. VandeHaar. Michigan State University East Lansing, MI.

Transition milk (milk from the 2nd through 4th milkings after calving) supplies additional nutrients and immunoglobulins to the calf compared with milk replacer. Our objective was to determine if feeding TM would stimulate body growth and health. Newborn calves (n = 23) received 2.8 L of colostrum before random assignment to 1 of 2 treatments (Milk Replacer, MR or Transition Milk, TM) fed 3 times per day. TM was pooled by milking number (30.3% fat (DM), 39.2% protein (DM), and 20.22 g IgG/L) and fed 1.89 L (255 g DM) per feeding as followed: milking 2 at feedings 2 to 5, milking 3 at feedings 6 to 8, and milking 4 at feedings 9 to 12 while MR calves received 275 g DM milk replacer (20.6% fat and 26.6% protein) at all 12 feedings. Health measures were scored 0 to 3 at each feeding. Body weights, growth measures, and blood samples were taken d 1, 2, 3, and 5. Both treatments had refusals of 10%. All calves had successful passive transfer of immunity with serum IgG values over 10.0 mg/mL. With the additional 0.7 Mcal ME/d, TM grew more than twice as fast at 0.64 kg/d compared with MR 0.25 kg/d (P = 0.005). TM tended to increase growth in heart girth and hip height (1.12 cm vs. 2.77 cm P = 0.07, and 0.15 cm vs. 1.45 cm P = 0.09). Withers height was not affected. Health scores were reduced for cough (P = 0.05), fecal (P = 0.006), nose (P = 0.05), and ear (P = 0.02) in TM calves compared with MR, with no difference observed in eye score. Blood neutrophil oxidative burst and phagocytic capacity was elevated in MR compared with TM (35.62% of cells vs 12.91% of cells P = 0.04; 57.64% of cells vs 48.39%, P = 0.05 of cells respectively). In the ileum, TM increased the number of T cells/mm of the epithelium, while no differences were seen in T cells/mm2 of lamina propria or B cells/mm2 of the Peyer's patches. Treatment did not affect serum IgG or total serum protein throughout the 5-d period. Feeding TM for the first 12 feedings after colostrum improved both overall growth and health in the first 5 d of life.

Keywords: calf, transition milk, 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.