Abstract #T222

# T222
Effects of different physical starter forms on health, growth, rumen parameters and selected blood metabolites in dairy calves.
C. Du1,2, Y. G. Zhen2, L. Ma1,4, A. F. Kertz3, D. P. Bu*1,5, 1State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, Institute of Animal Science, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing,China, 2Jilin Agricultural University, Changchun,Jilin,China, 3ANDHIL LLC, Louis, MO, 4CAAS-ICRAF Joint Lab on Agroforestry and Sustainable Animal Husbandry, World Agroforestry Centre, East and Central Asia, Beijing, China, 5Hunan Co-Innovation Center of Safety Animal Production, CICSAP, ChangSha, Hunan, China.

The study was conducted to determine whether starter physical form would influence performance, rumen fermentation parameters and selected blood metabolites in dairy calves. Sixty-three Holstein female calves (41.3 ± 2.8 kg at birth) were randomly assigned to 1 of the 3 starter diets differing in physical form: (1) texturized starter (TS; n = 21), (2) pelleted starter with the same formula as TS (PSA; n = 21) and (3) commercially available pelleted starter (PSB; n = 21). All calves were fed 4 L colostrum within 1 h after birth and housed in individual hunches. All calves were offered pasteurized whole milk twice daily 2 L for wk 1, 3 L for wk 2 to 6, and 2 L for wk 7 before full weaning at the end of wk 7 of age. The study finished at the end of wk 9. Calves were fed starter beginning at d 5 of age, and had free access to water and starter. Twelve male calves were randomly assigned to the same 3 treatments for a digestion trial using indigestible NDF and acid insoluble ash as internal marker. Data were analyzed with mixed models using SAS.Starter DMI, gain-to-feed ratios and ADG were not different within the first 6 wk among treatments. During wk 7, DMI of TS (1.23 kg) and PSA (1.24 kg) were not different, but increased more (P < 0.05) than PSB (1.00 kg). For 2 wk after fully weaned, both TS (0.81 kg) and PSA (0.74 kg) had greater DMI (P < 0.05) than PSB (0.63 kg). DMI during wk 7 was lower (P < 0.05) than previous for PSB, and ADG of TS (0.60 kg) and PSA (0.60 kg) were higher (P < 0.05) than PSB (0.53 kg). Observations and photos showed more flies were attracted to TS than for either PSA or PSB during summer mo of this study. During this 9 wk study, PSB had lower (P < 0.05) ADG than the other 2 treatments, but there were no differences in gain-to-feed ratio. TS and PSA had greater (P < 0.05) final BW than PSB. Serum parameters were not different among 3 treatments. PSB had greater butyrate concentration in rumen fluid than PSA and TS (P < 0.05). Also PSB had greater acetate to propionate ratio than PSA and TS. The TS treatment had the lowest digestibility for DM, CP, and ADF (P < 0.05). Hardness of corn kernels appeared to be a factor in lower TS digestibility.

Key Words: calf, texturized starter, pelleted starter