Intake and growth in transported Holstein calves classified as diarrheic or healthy within the first 21 days after arrival in a retrospective observational study

S. Y. Morrison, P. A. LaPierre, K. N. Brost, J. K. Drackley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Strategies that can improve health and maximize growth in the preweaning period should improve the subsequent production and longevity of replacement animals. Few data are available that quantify feed and water consumption, as well as growth, in healthy versus non-healthy calves—the objective of this study. A database of Holstein calves (<1 wk of age; n = 313) was developed to compare calves that developed diarrhea in the first 21 d after arrival from commercial farms to the research facility versus calves that remained healthy. Individual calf data from 4 experiments included daily intake of milk replacer, free water, electrolyte solution, and starter grain, as well as weekly body weight (BW) and frame measures for 21 d after arrival. Calves with a fecal score of >2 for ≥3 consecutive days over the first 21 d of each experiment were retrospectively classified as diarrheic (DIA; n = 96); the remainder were classified as healthy (HEA; n = 217). Other health issues were minimal. The likelihood of elevated fecal score occurrence and the cumulative number of days with an elevated score were greater for DIA calves than for HEA calves. The initial total protein concentration in blood did not differ between classifications. Cumulative milk replacer dry matter intake (DMI) and water consumed from milk replacer were significantly less for DIA calves than for HEA calves, because DIA calves were more likely to refuse milk replacer. Cumulative starter DMI was decreased for DIA versus HEA calves. As a result, cumulative total DMI was significantly less for DIA calves than for HEA calves. Cumulative free water intake did not differ between classifications. The DIA calves were more likely to receive electrolyte solution and have more days given electrolyte solution than HEA calves. As a result, total cumulative intake of electrolyte solution was greater in DIA calves than in HEA calves. Cumulative total water intake did not differ between classifications. Initial BW did not differ between classifications; however, a classification × time interaction for BW indicated that HEA calves were heavier than DIA calves and had greater ADG. Significant classification × time interactions for hip height and heart girth revealed that HEA calves had a larger frame size. Gain–feed ratios for both milk replacer intake and total DMI differed between classifications: DIA calves were less feed-efficient than HEA calves. In conclusion, diarrhea in young calves decreases DMI, BW gain, and feed efficiency relative to HEA calves within 21 d of arrival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10997-11008
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Volume102
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2019

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observational studies
Observational Studies
Holstein
Retrospective Studies
calves
Drinking
Growth
Milk
Electrolytes
milk replacer
dry matter intake
taxonomy
Health
electrolytes
Hip
Diarrhea
Databases
water
Proteins
girth

Keywords

  • calf
  • diarrhea
  • growth
  • health
  • intake

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics

Cite this

Intake and growth in transported Holstein calves classified as diarrheic or healthy within the first 21 days after arrival in a retrospective observational study. / Morrison, S. Y.; LaPierre, P. A.; Brost, K. N.; Drackley, J. K.

In: Journal of Dairy Science, Vol. 102, No. 12, 12.2019, p. 10997-11008.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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