Submitted to: Journal of Dairy Science
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/24/2000
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Dairy calves are exposed to many stressors within the first few days of life affecting health, growth, and well-being. Objectives of this study were to measure the effects of a beta-glucan product and Vitamin C as supplements in milk replacer on behavior, health, growth and immune function and to determine the efficacy of these supplements to reduce the use of antibiotics in animal production. Health and growth parameters are reported here. Forty-eight dairy calves were blocked by date of birth and placed on 1 of 4 supplements added to milk replacer; control (C), beta-glucan (Bg), Vit C (AA), and beta-glucan plus Vit C (Both). Supplemental Vit C (Stay-C;Roche Vitamins, INC.) was given at 250mg/feeding and beta-glucan product (Nutri-ferm, Energy Plus, Natural Chem Industries,LTD.) was added at 2.5% of dry milk replacer. Weekly BW, body temperature, and blood samples were taken for six weeks. Fecal scores, nasal and ocular discharge were recorded daily. Weekly hematocrit, fibrinogen, percent granulocytes and lymphocyte counts were measured. Hematocrit showed a main effect of Bg and an interaction of Bg and AA (P<.01). AA and Bg significantly improved (P<.01) BW change, percent hematocrit, fecal scores, and fibrinogen. AA, Bg, and Both tended to increase percent lymphocytes (P<.10). There were no significant effects on percent granulocytes and ocular discharge. This study shows that supplemental ascorbic acid and beta-glucan synergistically improve weight gain, health status, and overall well- being of dairy calves.