Yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) culture was added to a texturized calf starter at 0 (control), 1, or 2% of dry matter to determine effects on intake, growth, blood parameters, and rumen development. Seventy-five Holstein calves (38 male; 37 female) were started on the experiment at 2 ± 1 d of age and were studied for 42 d. Starter intake was measured, and fecal scoring was conducted daily. Growth and blood parameter measurements were recorded at weekly intervals. A subset of 6 male calves (2 per treatment) was euthanized at 5 wk of age, and rumen tissue was sampled for rumen epithelial growth measurements. An additional 6 male calves were euthanized at 6 wk of age for rumen epithelial growth measurements. Inclusion of yeast culture at 2% of the starter ration significantly increased starter and total dry matter intake, average daily gain, and daily hip width change when compared with the control treatment. Average daily gain was improved by 15.6% for the 2% yeast treatment. Daily change in hip height was also significantly greater for calves receiving 2% supplemental yeast culture than for calves receiving 1%. No significant treatment differences were observed for any other variables. These data suggest that the addition of yeast culture in a dairy calf starter at 2% enhances dry matter intake and growth and slightly improves rumen development in dairy calves.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Animal Science and Zoology