Development of dairy calves fed silage transition milk: I - Digestive tract

This study aimed to evaluate the development of the digestive tract of Holstein calves which suckled milk from silage transition. We used 18 animals, with an average initial body weight of 36.50kg (±4.03), individually housed in pens with concentrate, hay Cynodon sp., water and mineral supplement offered ad libitum. The experimental design was completely randomized with three treatments and six replications. Treatments consisted of whole milk and silage transitional milk, diluted with water or mixed with milk, corresponding to four liters per day divided over two meals during 59 days. The food intake was monitored daily and weighed every week after the supply of liquid diet in the morning. At 60 days, the calves were slaughtered and the digestive tract was weighed and histological measures of rumen papillae were taken. The nursing system did not affect the consumption of concentrate and total dry matter and the development of rumen papillae (P>0.05). The silage transition milk diluted in water resulted in lower final body weight, lower body weight and absolute emptiness abomasum and intestinal further development. Milk transition silage mixed in milk did not affect the development of the digestive tract and body until 60 days of age, representing an alternative to milk.

calf; mitotic index; milk; milk replacer; rumen

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