The objective of this study was to compare the effects of feeding preweaning dairy calves pasteurized milk once or twice a day with or without a combination of yeast-derived products. Holstein heifer calves (n = 48) from The Pennsylvania State University dairy herd were fed 3.8 L of colostrum in 1 feeding and randomly assigned to 1 of 4 treatments (once-a-day milk feeding with or without live yeast culture and mannan-rich fraction and twice-a-day milk feeding with or without live yeast culture and mannan-rich fraction). All calves were fed 6 L of milk daily. Weekly growth measurements and blood samples were taken 3 h after the morning milk feeding for all animals. Growth measurement included body weight, hip width, and withers height. Calf starter refusal was recorded weekly, and a sample was taken to determine dry matter intake. Daily health scores were recorded for each calf using a standard scoring system. Intake, growth measurements, haptoglobin, and health scores data were analyzed using repeated measures analysis with calf included as a random variable. Preweaning average daily gain was 553.4 and 512.1 g/d for calves fed milk once and twice a day, respectively, and we found no difference between treatments. Preweaning calf starter intake was 242.3 and 198.7 g/d for calves fed milk once and twice a day, respectively, and we found no treatment differences. Preweaning calf starter intake was 224.3 and 216.6 g/d for calves fed yeast and without yeast, respectively. Withers height and hip width were similar in calves fed milk either once or twice a day; however, calves fed yeast tended to have greater withers height and hip width than control calves. Haptoglobin concentration as a measure of stress had least squares means of 4.0 and 9.5 ± 3.5 µg/mL for calves fed milk once or twice a day, respectively, and we found no difference among treatments. Scours score and total daily score were similar for calves fed milk once or twice a day. These results suggest that feeding milk once a day can be successfully applied to a calf feeding system and that yeast products may improve structural growth.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Animal Science and Zoology