French Shine Trial on Rumen development

Abstract: Sixteen Holstein calves were used to study the effects of two feeding programs (FP) on growth, intake, rumen development and ruminal metabolism from birth to weaning. Two feeding programs based on milk replacer (MR) were tested: a once a day (OAD) MR (200 g/L) distribution vs. a standard twice a day (TAD) MR (125 g/L) distribution. All calves received water, wheat straw and a starter concentrate ad libitum. Four calves per group were slaughtered at weaning and rumen epithelium from the ventral sac was sampled for papillae (RP) density. Results showed that the FP had no effect on body weight of calves and total feed intake. From day 42 to day 56, ruminal pH was lower (P = 0.036) and ruminal oxydo-reducing potential was higher (P = 0.001) in OAD than TAD calves. Ruminal total volatile fatty acid (VFA) concentrations did not significantly differ between FP. From day 21 to day 63, butyrate ruminal concentration was significantly higher in OAD than TAD calves (5.17 vs 3.95 mmol/L). This probably explained the higher development of RP in calves fed once daily. Finally, the tested feeding system based on a once daily MR distribution affects the concentrate feeding pattern of calves.


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