Effect of solid feed level and types of roughage on passage kinetics of milk replacer, concentrate, and roughage in veal calves

Sanne van Gastelen*, Annemarie J.W. Mens, Gisabeth P. Binnendijk, Jennifer L. Ellis, Christopher D. Powell, Walter J.J. Gerrits

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

This study aimed (1) to provide estimates of total mean retention times of milk replacer (MR), concentrates, and roughage in veal calves fed a mixed diet; (2) to determine the effect of level and type of solid feed (SF) on passage kinetics of MR, concentrates, and roughages in veal calves; and (3) to compare passage kinetics in veal calves using the fecal excretion curves of indigestible markers and a noninvasive 13C tracer breath test approach to determine whether the latter technique can serve as an alternative. At the start of the trial, 48 Holstein-Friesian calves (6 wk of age; 68 ± 7.7 kg of body weight; BW) were assigned to 1 of 4 dietary treatments (for statistical analysis, only 39 calf observations were used). Three treatments contained chopped wheat straw as roughage in the SF mixture in a concentrate:roughage ratio of 90:10 (dry matter basis). The SF level was 20 g/kg of metabolic BW per day (low straw), 30 g/kg of metabolic BW per day (middle straw), or 40 g/kg of metabolic BW per day (high straw). The fourth treatment (high hay) contained long perennial ryegrass hay as roughage in the SF mixture in a concentrate:roughage ratio of 70:30 (dry matter basis, at 40 g/kg of metabolic BW per day). The quantity of MR was fixed for the high straw treatment, whereas the amount of MR for the other treatments during the adaptation period was adjusted based on a pair gain strategy (i.e., exchanging ration components but keeping similar net energy). At the end of the adaptation period, calves ranged from 12 to 15 wk of age with an average BW of 123 ± 8.6 kg. Passage kinetics of concentrates were estimated by measuring 13C enrichment excess of CO2 in breath from a pulsed-dose of [1-13C]octanoate. Passage kinetics of roughage, concentrates, and MR were also estimated using fecal excretion curves obtained after ingestion of chromium-mordanted roughage, Yb2O3, and Co-EDTA, respectively. We conclude that [1-13C]octanoate cannot serve as a measure for oro-duodenal transit of concentrates because of unrealistic estimates. Based on the fecal excretion curves, we concluded that the total mean retention time of MR (i.e., time to peak; the moment that the excretion curve reaches peak concentration) was, on average, 12.4 h, and that the passage kinetics of MR was not affected by the level or type of SF. The mean retention time of concentrates was shorter (21.4 h) than that of both straw (59.1 h) and hay (36.8 h), and was not affected by the level or type of SF. Also, the mean retention time of the slowest compartment (i.e., the rumen) was shorter for concentrates (39.6 h) than that of straw (110.0 h) and hay (59.2 h). Contrary, the passage of roughage was affected by level and type of SF. Long hay increased time to peak by 22.3 h and decreased ruminal mean retention time by 50.8 h relative to chopped straw, indicating that the passage rate of long hay is faster than that of chopped straw. We conclude that the level and type of SF only affects the passage kinetics of roughage and not that of MR and concentrates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7871-7887
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Volume104
Issue number7
Early online date23 Apr 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

Keywords

  • calf
  • passage kinetics
  • roughage type
  • solid feed level

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