Effects of fat inclusion in starter feeds for dairy calves by mixing increasing levels of a high-fat extruded pellet with a conventional highly fermentable pellet

H. Berends,* M. Vidal,† M. Terré,† L. N. Leal,* J. Martín-Tereso,* and A. Bach†‡1

* Trouw Nutrition R&D, PO Box 299, 3800 AG, Amersfoort, the Netherlands
Department of Ruminant Production, Institut de Recerca i Tecnologia Agroalimentàries (IRTA), 08140 Caldes de Montbui, Spain
Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats (ICREA), 08010 Barcelona, Spain
1 Corresponding author A. Bach

J Dairy Sci. 2018 Dec;101(12):10962-10972. doi: 10.3168/jds.2018-15116. Epub 2018 Oct 11.

Open Access
M. Vidal, M. Terré, L. N. Leal, J. Martín-Tereso, and A. Bach

by H. Berends on 11/10/2018
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The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of inclusion of an extruded high-fat pellet mixed with a conventional pelleted calf starter on energy intake and performance around weaning in calves. To this end, 75 female Holstein newborn calves (41.0 ± 4.98 kg) were randomly assigned to 1 of 5 iso-nitrogenous solid feed treatments consisting of 4 levels of fat inclusion by mixing a low-fat highly fermentable control pellet with 3 different levels of inclusion of an extruded high-fat pellet [control (100:0), 90:10, 80:20, and 70:30], and a high-fat single pellet (HFSP). The HFSP was equivalent iso-energetic and iso-nitrogenous, although it had almost 1 percentage point difference in fat relative to the 80:20 treatment, to contrast the effect of the dual-component pellet mixture. The extruded high-fat starter feed contained a high proportion of fat (38%), mainly from hydrogenated palm fatty acids. Calves were offered a milk replacer up to 900 g/d, and then pre-weaned at 49 d of age by halving milk allowance until 56 d when calves were weaned. Calves had ad libitum access to the starter diets, chopped straw, and water. Individual milk replacer and starter intakes were recorded daily and BW was determined weekly. A glucose tolerance test was performed at 49 and 84 d of age to evaluate blood glucose homeostasis. Apparent total-tract digestibility was determined from 70 to 75 d of age. Calves on the 90:10 treatment had greatest starter feed intake mainly due to a marked increase in solid feed intake around weaning. Metabolizable energy intake was increased when the extruded pellet was included in the starter. No differences were present in digestibility of ether extract among solid feed treatments. The area under the curve of blood glucose concentration after the glucose tolerance test was greatest in 80:20; intermediate in 70:30, HFSP, and control; and lowest in 90:10 calves. No differences were observed for insulin or other parameters related to blood glucose homeostasis. Delivering dietary fat by mixing an extruded high-fat pellet with a conventional highly fermentable pellet to reach a total fat content of 7% results in increased starter intake, energy intake, and body weight gain until 84 d of age compared with a conventional low-fat pellet, or a single pellet with increased fat content.

Keywords: calf; extrusion; solid feed; weaning stress.