Growth, Blood Metabolites, and Health of Holstein Calves Fed Milk Replacer Containing Different Amounts of Energy and Protein

  • Lee, H.J. (Dairy Science Division, National Institute of Animal Science) ;
  • Khan, M.A. (Dairy Science Division, National Institute of Animal Science) ;
  • Lee, W.S. (Dairy Science Division, National Institute of Animal Science) ;
  • Kim, H.S. (Dairy Science Division, National Institute of Animal Science) ;
  • Ki, K.S. (Dairy Science Division, National Institute of Animal Science) ;
  • Jang, S.J. (Dairy Science Division, National Institute of Animal Science) ;
  • Hur, T.Y. (Dairy Science Division, National Institute of Animal Science) ;
  • Khan, M.S. (Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, University of Agriculture) ;
  • Choi, Y.J. (School of Agricultural Biotechnology, Seoul National University)
  • Received : 2007.05.11
  • Accepted : 2007.07.23
  • Published : 2008.02.01


This study was conducted to compare the effects of feeding high protein and low energy milk replacer (HPR; CP 25%, ME 3.6 Mcal/kg DM) with low protein and high energy milk replacer (HPR; CP 21%, ME 4.2 Mcal/kg DM) on feed consumption, body weight (BW) gain, health and selected blood metabolites in Holstein calves during the pre-weaning period. At each feeding, each milk replacer (MR) was prepared by mixing 0.125 kg of dry MR in 1L of warm ($60^{\circ}C$) water. The calves were fed either HPR (n = 10) or HER (n = 10) using mobile plastic bottles fitted with soft rubber nipples. All calves received 1.8L diluted MR at each feeding 3 times daily during the first 4 weeks of age; feeding frequency was reduced to 2 times daily for the next 2 weeks of age and then to once daily during the last week of the experiment. Jugular blood was sampled in calves at day 7, 14, 21, 35 and 49 of age to enumerate selected metabolites. Daily MR, starter and hay intake during the pre-weaning period were similar in calves fed HPR and HER. Consumption of starter, MGH and total DM steadily increased with the age of calves. Final BW, daily BW gain and feed efficiency of calves were not affected by treatments. Serum glucose, cholesterol, creatinine were decreased (p<0.05) and blood urea N was increased (p<0.05) in calves fed HER or HPR as they grew older. Serum glucose, total protein and albumin concentrations in calves were not affected by treatments. Serum GPT and GOT concentrations were higher (p<0.05) in calves on HPR than on HER. Scouring score, days scoured, respiratory score, rectal temperature and general appearance were similar in calves fed HPR and HER. Poor general appearance (dullness and droopy ears) of calves fed either HPR or HER reflected nutritional insufficiency and stress. In conclusion, energy and protein concentrations in MR did not affect feed intake and BW gain in Holstein calves during the pre-weaning period. Poor general appearance and lower BW gain of calves compared to those reported in the literature for milk fed calves prompt a demand for further research to improve the daily nutrient supply to MR-fed calves.


Milk Replacer;Calf Starter;Growth;Weaning;Calves


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