Effect of Calcium Supplementation on Growth, Nutrient Digestibility and Fecal Lactobacilli in Dairy Calves
C. Yuangklang, C. Wachirapakorn, H. E. Mohamed, A. Alhaidary and A. C. Beynen
DOI : 10.3844/ajavsp.2010.127.131
American Journal of Animal and Veterinary Sciences
Volume 5, Issue 2
Problem statement: Based on earlier studies in veal calves and rats, the hypothesis tested was that high calcium intakes by ruminating dairy calves reduce fat digestibility, but do not affect growth performance due to enhanced colonization of the intestine with lactobacilli. Approach: In dairy calves that were fed on a combination of milk replacer, concentrate on grass hay, the effects of supplemental calcium on growth, nutrient digestibility and fecal lactobacilli were studied. Four concentrates with different levels of calcium were used. Results: Final body weight and weight gain were raised by the calcium level in the concentrate in a dose-dependent, linear fashion. Apparent digestibility of dry matter, organic matter, crude protein and crude fat were not influenced by the level of calcium in the concentrate. The number of fecal lactobacilli was significantly increased by higher dietary calcium levels, the effect having a linear trend. Calcium intake did not change the number of fecal E. coli. The apparent absorptions of calcium, phosphorus and magnesium were lowered in a linear, dose-dependent fashion by the calcium level in the concentrate. Conclusion: Increased calcium intakes stimulate weight gain in dairy calves fed a combination of milk replacer, concentrate and grass hay. This calcium effect may be related to an enhanced colonization of the intestine with lactobacilli.
© 2010 C. Yuangklang, C. Wachirapakorn, H. E. Mohamed, A. Alhaidary and A. C. Beynen. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.