The effect of different physical forms of starter feed on rumen fermentation indicators and weight gain in calves after weaning
Acta Veterinaria Brno
The aim of the study was to determine the effect of different physical forms of starter feed on rumen fermentation indicators of calves after weaning and their weight gain. The experiment was performed with Czech Fleckvieh calves after weaning. The calves were fed ad libitum completely pelleted starter feed or texturized starter feed with chopped straw. The rumen fluid samples were collected after a month of feeding the starter feeds. The calves were weighed monthly. The pH, total acidity,
... total acidity, total volatile fatty acids, acetate, propionate, butyrate, lactic acid, ammonia and the number of rumen ciliate protozoa were determined in the rumen fluid samples. The calves receiving the starter feed with straw showed significantly higher rumen pH (6.24 ± 0.51 vs. 5.58 ± 0.30), total volatile fatty acids (98.02 ± 20.46 vs. 61.40 ± 26.51 mmol/l), molar proportion of acetate (61.20 ± 4.87 vs. 50.53 ± 4.66%), and the acetate:propionate ratio (2.38 ± 0.53 vs. 1.34 ± 0.18) and lower molar proportion of propionate (26.55 ± 4.48 vs. 37.92 ± 3.58%) compared with the calves receiving pelleted starter feed. Average daily gain of the calves did not differ significantly. The feeding of starter feed with chopped straw compared with the pelleted starter feed led to better development of the rumen fermentation evaluated by rumen pH, by total volatile fatty acids production, and by the proportion and ratio of acetic and propionic acids. The feeding of starter feed with chopped straw reduced the occurrence of subacute ruminal acidosis in the weaned calves. Volatile fatty acids, pelleted starter, starter with chopped straw, subacute ruminal acidosis ACTA VET. BRNO 2017, 86: 285-291; https://doi.