Effect of Starter feed starch level on body parameters, blood metabolites and functional parameters of Holstein dairy calves.

Document Type : Research Articles


Department of animal science, Faculty of Agriculture, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashad, Iran


Using starter with two different levels of starch in feeding Holstein dairy calves and effects on body parameters, blood metabolites and functional parameters

Introduction Breeding quality calves with a desirable genetic potential is one of the important criteria in dairy herds. In recent years, particular attention had been paid to calf breeding, especially to the composition of starter. Early weaning and encouraging the calf to consume solid feed reduces the incidence of various diseases, including diarrhea. It was important to transfer the calf from the non-ruminant state to the active ruminant state as soon as possible for the improved health and growth of the dairy calf. To transfer from a liquid feed to solid feed containing grains and forage, it was necessary to change some challenge such as digestive system, enable ruminal fermentation and digestion of nutrients through the intestine. Grains, which are full of carbohydrates, were considered to be the main source of energy in ruminants, leading to an excess in the growth of rumen epithelium. Corn grain was a major source of energy in ruminants as a digestible source. In comparison with other grains, the starch available in the corn grains was digested more slowly in the rumen. To use it to its full potential, its bio-availability should be increased so that a higher level of energy was released from the starch.

Material and Methods This experiment was performed in the Astan Qods Razavi dairy farm, Mashhad, Iran. Forty Holstein calves, consisting of 20 male and 20 female, with an average birth weight of 42.4 Kg (± 4.3) were used from birth to 70 days. Calves were birth and immediately separated from their dam and weighting, then they were transferring to individual pen. On the third day, the calves were randomly assigned to one of two treatments. The experimental treatment included: 1) low starch, and 2) high starch. All calves received colostrum for 3 d and then whole milk at 15% of body weight in the two equal meals, morning (5:00 A.M) and evening (15:00 P.M), until weaning. Calves’ accesses to water and starter ad libitum and starter was mixed with 5% of alfalfa hay chopped (% of DM). Composition of starter did not change throughout the experiment. Starter intake was record daily. Body weight determine every two weeks until the end of experiment. Fecal consistence was scored daily. Blood sample was harvested from jugular vein for collection of blood serum. Blood metabolites including: glucose, cholesterol, triglyceride, albumin, total protein, ALT, AST, and urea were analyzed. Skeletal development was measured and recorded using special instruments on the 3, 56 and 70 days. Data were analyzed using SAS version 9.4 as a randomized completely design with GLM method and tendencies were reported at 0.05<P<0.10. Least square means for each treatment are reported in the tables and were separated using Tukeys test.

Results and Discussion The results of this study were showed that the use of the different level of starch had no significant effect on the starter feed intake, average daily gain, feed efficiency, fecal score and skeletal growth parameters of calves.

Serum concentration of total protein, triglyceride, albumin, cholesterol, urea. ALT, and AST not affected by experimental treatments. ADG was not influenced by treatment in experiment. Our results consistent with the observation of Zhang et al (2010). There were no treatment effects for blood parameters measured over time, this result correspondent with observation of Soltani et al (2020). Fecal scoring for determination of fecal fluidity with Kertz and Chester-Jones (2004). Different treatments couldn’t effect on Fecal score like Soltani et al (2020) observation. Weekly measurements of BW, withers height (WH), hip height (HH), hip width (HW), and heart girth (HG) and body girth were recorded. There were no significant treatment differences observed for initial, daily change, and final parameters we saw same result in observation of Soltani et al (2020). During the Experiments, no treatment differences were detected for, starter intake, or total DMI, and weaning BW was similar for all treatments. This result is consistent with the observation of Lesmeister and Heinrichs (2004).

Conclusion The result of this study was show that different level of starch had no any marked effects on body weight, daily feed intake, feed efficiency, fecal score, skeletal growth and blood metabolites.

Keywords: Starter feed, Starch, Dairy calf, corn grain


Main Subjects


Articles in Press, Accepted Manuscript
Available Online from 03 September 2023
  • Receive Date: 24 May 2023
  • Revise Date: 03 September 2023
  • Accept Date: 03 September 2023
  • First Publish Date: 03 September 2023