Abstract #W48

# W48
Effects of feeding Holstein calves 3% wheat protein in milk replacer.
A. Keunen*1, D. Renaud1, 1Mapleview Agri Ltd, Palmerston, ON, Canada, 2Population Medicine, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada.

Following birth and colostrum feeding, many calves are fed a commercial milk replacer (MR). MR including non-milk proteins such as wheat, can be perceived as a cost-effective way of raising calves. The objective of this 78d study was to evaluate the health and performance of Holstein male calves fed one of 2 MR treatments differing in CP source. Milk proteins supplied 100% of the CP in MLK. Hydrolyzed wheat supplied 3% of the CP in WHT, with the remainder from milk proteins. Both MR contained 25% CP (as-fed) and 19% animal fat (as-fed). Calves (n = 240), were sourced from dairy farms or auction at approximately 7 d of age. Calves were randomized upon arrival based on BW, source, and serum total protein and fed individually until weaning at d 49, then co-mingled into consecutive groups of 5 until d 78. Both groups were offered: 0.52kg MR for wk 1 and 2; 0.65kg MR for wk 3; 0.90kg MR for wk 4 and 5, followed by a 2 wk weaning period of 0.45kg of MR powder at 13% solids, daily. Calf starter (21% CP, as-fed) was fed until d 28, followed by a corn and supplement ration (18.1% CP, as-fed) until d 78. Milk intake was not different (P = 0.76), however, grain consumption was higher in the preweaning period in the MLK (P = 0.02) but not in the post weaning period (P = 0.67). Fecal scores were recorded for the first 28 d and calves were observed for respiratory disease daily for 78 d. Body weight was recorded at arrival, on d 49, and d 78. Cox proportional hazard models were built to evaluate impact of treatment on mortality and morbidity, whereas, a mixed linear regression model evaluated the effect of treatment on ADG. No differences were observed between treatment groups with respect to diarrhea, respiratory disease, or mortality. No difference was found in gain from arrival to d 49, however, from d 49 to d 78, calves in the WHT gained 0.08 kg/d less compared with the MLK (P = 0.004) when using a random effect controlling for the group the calf was contained within. The outcome suggests that feeding calves milk replacer with 3% wheat protein results in reduced ADG in the post-weaning period, with no effects on diarrhea, respiratory disease, or mortality.

Key Words: milk replacer, dairy calf, protein