Gastrointestinal development of dairy calves fed low- or high-starch concentrate at two milk allowances

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  • Anna Katarzyna Kosiorowska, Denmark
  • Liselotte Puggaard, Denmark
  • Mette Skou Hedemann
  • Jakob Sehested
  • Søren Krogh Jensen
  • Niels Bastian Kristensen, Denmark
  • P Kuropka, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Animal Anatomy and Histology, Wroclaw University of Life and Environmental Sciences, Poland
  • K Marycz, Department of Animal Hygiene and Animal Welfare, Wroclaw University of Life and Environmental Sciences, Poland
  • Mogens Vestergaard
  • Disease Mechanisms, -Markers and -Prevention
  • Department of Animal Health and Bioscience
  • Animal nutrition and environmental impact
  • Molecular nutrition and cell biology
  • Nutrition and Production Physiology
  • Integrative physiology
The objective was to study the effect of type of concentrate with varying starch and fibre content on growth and gastrointestinal development in preweaned dairy calves. Thirty-two newborn Danish Holstein male calves were allocated to four treatment groups in eight blocks of four calves. An experimental low-starch, high-molasses, high-fibre (EXP) concentrate or a traditional high-starch (TRA) concentrate were fed either at a high (HIGH; 2 × 3.2 kg/day) or a low (LOW; 2 × 1.6 kg/day) whole milk allowance in a 2 × 2 factorial design. TRA contained 350 and EXP 107 g starch/kg dry matter (DM), whereas the NDF content was 136 and 296 g/kg DM, respectively. Metabolizable energy (ME) was 11.2 and 12.2 MJ ME/kg DM in EXP and TRA, respectively. All calves had free access to artificially dried grass hay (9.8 MJ ME/kg DM). Four calves were culled during the experiment. The calves were euthanized either at 38 (12 calves) or 56 days (16 calves) of age. Evaluated across both slaughter ages, there was no difference between TRA and EXP in concentrate and hay intake, rumen weight and papillation. EXP resulted in increased villi number in duodenum and jejunum compared with TRA. Concentrate intake and reticulo-rumen weight was higher for LOW compared with HIGH milk allowance, whereas live weight gain was 20% lower. The results show that a low-starch, high-molasses, high-fibre concentrate with 8% lower ME content tended to reduce daily gain compared with a traditional calf starter concentrate, but resulted in similar ruminal development in preweaned calves both on a high and a low milk allowance fed along with grass hay. Furthermore, the results suggest that the experimental concentrate stimulated intestinal villi growth over that of the traditional concentrate.
Udgivelsesdato: 8. september
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-219
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2011

    Research areas

  • calf, starter concentrate, milk allowance, gastrointestinal development, growth performance

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