Shine Trial – Evaluation of sodium butyrate and concentrate crude protein level on the health of artificially reared beef calves to 12 weeks by Peter Williams

• In order to artificially rear calves successfully it is important to achieve optimum growth rates without compromising calf health, whilst remaining cost effective to ensure profitability.
• It has been shown that supplementing sodium butyrate can enhance small intestine development in calves (Górka et al., 2014), and improve growth rates (Kelly et al., 2014). Reduced crude protein levels in concentrates can be fed without having negative effects on calf health (Hanson, 2014).
• However, most of these studies focus on calf performance, rather than the effect on health. Moreover the interaction between the effects on calves fed lower crude protein levels and supplementing sodium butyrate has not been investigated.

The study will determine whether the use of lower protein concentrate, costing less than regular concentrate, can be effectively combined with supplemented sodium butyrate without having any negative impact on calf health.

Research Hypothesis:
Sodium butyrate can be combined with a lower protein concentrate to improve performance without having a negative effect on calf health.

Sodium butyrate can enhance pre-weaning performance; if it can be achieved with lower crude protein levels in concentrate without compromising the health of the calf then it will establish a more cost effective way to artificially rear calves whilst achieving improved performance.

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“They are the healthiest calves I have,’’ he says.

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