Technical note: Ruminal cannulation technique in young Holstein calves: Effects of cannulation on feed intake, body weight gain, and ruminal development at six weeks of age

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  • Niels Bastian Kristensen, Denmark
  • Marie Engbæk, Denmark
  • Mogens Vestergaard
  • D L Harmon, University of Kentucky, Lexington, United States
  • Fakultetssekretariat - administration
  • Disease Mechanisms, -Markers and -Prevention
  • Department of Animal Health and Bioscience
Ruminal cannulation techniques are frequently used to study fermentation in the ruminant forestomach. Unsatisfactory results with the traditionally applied procedure for cannulation of young calves stimulated the development of a simpler and more robust procedure; this procedure was tested for effects on performance traits and gross anatomy of the gastrointestinal tract compared with a control group not undergoing surgery. Five calves were ruminally cannulated at approximately 10 d of age and 5 matching calves were used as controls. All calves were fed milk replacer and a diet based on clover grass silage and sodium hydroxide-treated wheat. Ruminal fluid was collected from cannulated calves once weekly for 3 consecutive weeks. All calves were euthanized at 43 ± 3 d of age. No apparent adverse effects of cannulation were observed. Feed intake, BW gain, and gross anatomy of the gastrointestinal tract were not affected by cannulation. Minimum ruminal pH increased with sampling week, but average ruminal pH, total volatile fatty acids concentration, and volatile fatty acids proportions were not affected by sampling week. In conclusion, the implemented surgical technique was found to have no major effect on apparent animal health and performance traits, and the cannula proved useful for multiple samplings of ruminal contents in young calves.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Pages (from-to)737-742
Publication statusPublished - 2010

    Research areas

  • ruminal cannula, ruminal environment, calf

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