Abstract #M304

# M304
Pre- and post weaning performance and health of dairy calves fed complete pelleted calf starters formulated for three different starch levels.
D. Ziegler*1, H. Chester-Jones1, B. Ziegler2, S. Schuling2, 1University of Minnesota, Waseca, MN, 2Hubbard Feeds Inc, Mankato, MN.

One-hundred twelve (2 to 5 d old) individually fed Holstein heifer calves (38.6 ± 0.56 kg) from 3 commercial dairies were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 calf starter (CS) treatments formulated for varying starch levels to evaluate pre- (d 1–42) and post weaning (d 43–56) calf performance and health. The study was conducted between August and October, 2016. All treatment diets included a non-medicated 20% CP:20% fat milk replacer (all milk protein) fed at 0.28 kg in 2 L of water 2× daily from d 1 to d 35 and 1x daily from d 36 to weaning at d 42; supplemented daily with neomycin sulfate and oxytetracycline at 22mg/kg BW for 14 d. Calf starter treatments were as follows 1) texturized starter (TS) formulated for 30% starch DM basis, (TS30); 2) complete pelleted starter (CPS) formulated for 18% starch DM basis, (CPS18); 3) CPS formulated for 24% starch DM basis, (CPS24); 4) CPS formulated for 30% starch DM basis, (CPS30); Water and CS were offered free choice from d 1 to 56. Pre-weaning (d 1–42), 0.55 vs. 0.48 kg/d and post weaning gains (d 43–56) 1.03 vs. 0.83 kg/d were greater for calves fed TS30 (P < 0.05) vs. CPS18, CPS24 and CPS30. Overall 56 d gain was greater for TS30 vs. CPS18, CPS24 and CPS30, 0.67 vs. 0.57 kg/d. Gain/feed (d 1–42) was greater for TS30 vs. CPS18, CPS24 and CPS30, 0.62 vs. 0.56 kg/d (P < 0.05). Overall gain/feed (d 1–56) was greater for TS30 vs CPS18, CPS24 and CPS30, 0.57 vs. 0.52 kg/d. There were no differences in daily fecal scores or health costs. Under conditions of this study, calf performance was reduced with a CPS regardless of starch level compared with TS30. Cost savings with a CPS may still provide economical gains over TS30.

Key Words: calf performance, calf starter, starch