Effects of isovalerate supplementation on growth performance and ruminal fermentation in pre- and post-weaning dairy calves Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • SUMMARYThe objective of the present study was to evaluate the effects of isovalerate supplementation on growth performance and ruminal fermentation in pre- and post-weaning dairy calves. Forty-eight Chinese Holstein male calves at 15 days of age and 45·1 ± 0·36 kg body weight (BW) were assigned randomly to four groups. The treatments were: control, low-isovalerate, moderate-isovalerate (MIV) and high-isovalerate (HIV) with 0, 3, 6 and 9 g isovalerate per calf per day, respectively. Isovalerate was hand-mixed into milk in pre-weaning calves and the concentrate portion in post-weaning calves. The study lasted 75 days, including a 15-day adaptation period followed by a 60-day sampling period. Weaning was conducted when calves were 60 days old. Six calves were chosen from each treatment at random and slaughtered at 30 and 90 days of age. Average daily weight gain increased linearly whether during pre-weaning or post-weaning period with increasing isovalerate supplementation. Dry matter intake linearly increased at 90 days of age with increasing isovalerate supplementation. During weaning, ruminal pH and ammonia nitrogen (N) decreased linearly, whereas total ruminal volatile fatty acid concentration increased linearly with increasing isovalerate supplementation. The ratio of acetate to propionate increased linearly with increasing isovalerate supplementation due to increased acetate concentration and the unchanged propionate concentration. Activities of caboxymethyl-cellulase, cellobiase, xylanase and pectinase linearly increased at 90 days of age, α-amylase and β-amylase activities linearly increased at 30 and 90 days of age. Relative quantities of Butyrivibrio fibrisolvens, Ruminococcus albus, Fibrobacter succinogenes and Ruminococcus flavefaciens increased linearly with increasing isovalerate supplementation. Ruminal fermentation, enzyme activities and cellulolytic bacteria were higher for HIV and MIV than for the control. The present results indicate that isovalerate accelerated growth of calves by improving ruminal fermentation, microbial enzyme activities and cellulolytic bacteria growth during weaning. In the experimental conditions of the current trial, the optimum isovalerate dose was about 6·0 g isovalerate per calf per day.

authors

  • Liu, Qiang
  • WANG, C
  • ZHANG, YL
  • PEI, CX
  • ZHANG, SL
  • WANG, YX
  • ZHANG, ZW
  • YANG, WZ
  • WANG, H
  • GUO, G
  • HUO, WJ

publication date

  • November 2016