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Maternal or formulated transitional milk: effects on performance and health of dairy calves

Grant number: 20/13581-5
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): December 01, 2020
Effective date (End): November 30, 2021
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Animal Husbandry - Animal Nutrition and Feeding
Principal Investigator:Carla Maris Machado Bittar
Grantee:Roberto Yan Lopes Ricci
Host Institution: Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz (ESALQ). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Piracicaba , SP, Brazil


Raising calves is widely recognized as one of the pillars of future milk production, and the provision of high-quality colostrum in the first hours of a newborn's life is an extremely important and decisive factor in the development of healthy females. Like colostrum, transitional milk also has bioactive compounds with the potential to assist the development and intestinal health of the animal during the "immunological window", which occurs from the depression of passive immunity (obtained with the consumption of colostrum), until the full establishment of the animal's active immunity. To check whether transitional milk improves the health and performance of dairy calves, 45 male Dutch calves will be used that will receive high quality colostrum (> 22% brix) in the first 2 hours of life in the volume corresponding to 10% of birth weight ( PN), and another 5% of PN within 6 to 8h. The animals will be divided into randomized blocks according to the date and birth weight and distributed in 3 treatments, each with 24 repetitions: 1) Control: colostrum without the supply of transition milk, so that the animals receive whole milk from the second meal; 2) Maternal transition: colostrum followed by provision of maternal transition milk for three days - four liters per day, divided into two meals; 3) Transition formulated: colostrum followed by the supply of 4L / d of whole milk enriched with 50g / L of colostrum powder (totaling 200g / d), for three days, divided into two meals. Blood samples will be collected before colostrum delivery and 48 hours after colostrum to assess passive immunity transfer and apparent absorption efficiency. The daily consumption of concentrated food and weekly weight and body measurements will also be evaluated. The performance measures and blood parameters will be analyzed through the PROX MIXED of the SAS package, and a 5% significance level will be used.

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