Growth characteristics of calves fed an intensified milk replacer regimen with additional lactoferrin.

Academic Article


  • The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of lactoferrin addition to milk replacer varying in crude protein (CP) on dry matter intake, growth, and days medicated. Thirty-four Holstein heifer calves were assigned to 4 treatments in a 2 x 2 factorial arrangement of treatments in a randomized complete block design. Treatments were as follows: 562 g daily of a nonmedicated conventional milk replacer (20% CP:20% fat) feeding regimen with or without 1 g of supplemental bovine lactoferrin (n = 9 for both treatments) or a nonmedicated intensified milk replacer feeding regimen (28% CP:20% fat) fed on a metabolizable energy basis (0.2 Mcal/kg BW(0.75)) from d 2 to 9, and at 0.27 Mcal/kg BW(0.75) from d 10 to 42 with or without 1g supplemental bovine lactoferrin (n = 8 for both treatments). Calves were fed pelleted starter (25% CP) in 227.5-g increments beginning on d 2 and had free access to water. Calves remained on the study for 14 d postweaning. Dry matter intake was determined daily. Growth measurements were taken weekly. Blood samples were taken twice weekly for determination of blood urea N. On d 10 of life, calves were subjected to a xylose challenge. Calves on conventional treatments ate more starter preweaning, during weaning, and postweaning. Preweaning, intensively fed calves had higher dry matter intakes. Weights of intensified-fed calves were greater at weaning. Intensified milk replacer-fed calves had greater average daily gain preweaning and overall and higher gain:feed ratios preweaning, but conventionally fed calves had higher gain:feed ratios during weaning. Intensified milk replacer-fed calves had greater hip heights during weaning and postweaning and greater heart girths preweaning, weaning, and postweaning. Days medicated were greater preweaning and overall for intensified-fed calves. There were no differences among treatments for xylose absorption. Calves on conventional treatments had increased blood urea nitrogen concentrations preweaning. There were no effects of lactoferrin on any experimental variable. Intensified milk replacer-fed calves consumed less starter but had higher average daily gains overall and larger frames and greater BW than conventionally fed calves. An intensified milk replacer feeding regimen promotes faster growth during the preweaning period when compared with calves fed conventional treatments, but supplemental bovine lactoferrin was not beneficial under these experimental conditions.
  • Authors

  • Cowles, KE
  • White, RA
  • Whitehouse, Nancy
  • Erickson, Peter
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • December 2006
  • Published In


  • Animal Feed
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Diet
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Eating
  • Feces
  • Female
  • Lactoferrin
  • Random Allocation
  • Time Factors
  • Weight Gain
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 17106114
  • Start Page

  • 4835
  • End Page

  • 4845
  • Volume

  • 89
  • Issue

  • 12