Print version ISSN 0103-9016
MEYER, Paula Marques et al. Addition of probiotic to whole milk or milk replacer and holstein calves performance. Sci. agric. [online]. 2001, vol.58, n.2, pp. 215-221. ISSN 0103-9016. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0103-90162001000200001.
The possibility of limiting antibiotics as growth stimulants for farm animals has produced a climate in which both consumers and manufacturers are looking for alternatives. Probiotics are being considered to exercise this role, and for this reason, 79 newborn Holstein calves were used to evaluate the effects of Lactobacillus acidophilus, Enterococcus faecium and Saccharomyces cerevisiae additions to whole milk or milk replacer. Calves were assigned at birth to a completely randomized design with a 3x2 factorial arrangement of treatments. Factors were: 1- whole milk: milk replacer at 3 days of age: milk replacer at 15 days of age; 2- probiotic supplementation or not. Animals remained on the trial until 15 days after weaning. Probiotic supplementation to calves fed milk replacer at 3 days of age improved preweaning daily body gain (with probiotic=0.22 vs. without probiotic=0.16 kg day-1) and feed conversion (2.62 vs. 3.85), as well as, postweaning feed conversion (1.66 vs. 2.03). Milk replacer fed calves had higher starter intake (milk replacer=0.22 vs. whole milk=0.19 kg day-1), but lower dry matter intake (0.61 vs. 0.67 kg day-1) and the lowest weight at weaning (49 vs. 59 kg). When milk replacer was started at 3 days, calves had higher starter intake (milk replacer at 3 days=0.25 vs. milk replacer at 15 days=0.20 kg day-1) and lower weight at weaning (47.3 vs. 51 kg) in relation to milk replacer starting at 15 days. Age at weaning and mortality rate were not affected by the probiotic supplementation or liquid diet.
Keywords : Lactobacillus; milk substitute; body gain; dairy calves; bovine.