Master of Science (MS)


Animal Science (Animal, Dairy, and Poultry Sciences)

Document Type



Forty-two female Holstein calves were assigned to one of three treatments at d 2 of age to study the effects of adding resistant starch (RS) to the milk replacer on health and performance. Treatments were control (0g RS), 4g RS, or 8g RS mixed into the reconstituted milk replacer. Calves were housed in individual calf hutches and fed milk replacer once daily until d 42 of age. Water and an 18% crude protein calf starter were offered ad libitum beginning d 3 throughout the duration of the 56 d trial. Calves remained in their hutches until d 56 of age to determine immediate postweaning performance. Body weights (BW) were measured at birth and d 7, 14, 28, 42, and 56 d of age. Wither height (WH), hip height (HH), and hip width (HW) were measured on d 7, 14, 28, 42, and 56 d of age. Feed intake, body temperatures, and fecal scores were recorded once daily through d 56. On d 14, 28, 42, and 56, fecal samples were collected for analysis of pH and short chain fatty acids (SCFA), and blood was collected for analysis of plasma urea nitrogen (PUN) and total protein (TP). The PUN and TP were within normal ranges suggesting that there were no major metabolic problems. There was no effect (P>0.05) of treatment on BW, HH, HW, WH, or body temperatures. There was a treatment by week interaction (P<0.01) and a week effect (P<0.01) for grain intake, with all calves increasing intake throughout the duration of the study. There was a treatment by week interaction (P<0.01) for fecal scores. All calves had lower (P<0.01) fecal scores at the end of the study compared to the beginning. Fecal pH increased as calves aged (P<0.01). There was a treatment by week interaction (P<0.05) for propionate concentration in the feces. Propionate concentrations decreased (P<0.01) until weaning at week 6 for all treatments while calves consuming 4g RS had higher (P<0.05) concentrations compared to those consuming 8g RS over the entire trial. Acetate, butyrate, and total SCFA concentrations all decreased (P<0.01) for all calves until weaning at week 6. Incorporation of RS in the milk replacer of calves did show changes in fecal SCFA at 2 and 4 weeks of age. However, incorporation of RS in milk replacer had no overall treatment effects on health and performance of neonatal dairy calves.



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Committee Chair

Jenny, Bruce F.