Pre-calving feeding of rumen-protected rice bran to multiparous dairy cows improves recovery of calcaemia after calving

J. Martín-Tereso López, Holger Martens, Carolin Deiner, H. van Laar, Leonard den Hartog, Martin W.A. Verstegen

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Dairy cows can have different degrees of hypocalcaemia around calving. Lowering dietary Ca availability before calving can prevent it. Rice bran, treated for lower rumen degradability of phytic acid can reduce dietary availability of Ca. During 3 periods of 3 weeks, 113 multiparous cows calved in a single close-up group, which was fed first a control diet, then 140 g/kg DM of rumen-protected rice bran, and at last the control diet again. Cows joined the group 3 weeks before expected calving date and left it at calving. Blood samples were taken weekly before parturition and 0, 6 and 12 h after calving, as well as 3 and 28 d in lactation. Serum was analysed for Ca, Mg, and P. Rice bran introduction produced a transient serum Ca decrease. Rice bran feeding reduced serum P and its withdrawal reduced serum Mg. Serum Ca at calving, nadir of serum Ca and serum Ca the first 3 d after calving was higher in cows calving during rice bran feeding. Serum P decreased less and recovered faster after calving when cows had been fed rice bran. Rumen-protected rice bran reduced dietary availability of Ca and induced adaptation of Ca metabolism resulting in improved Ca and P homoeostasis at calving.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-288
JournalJournal of Dairy Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016



  • Calcium homoeostasis
  • milk fever
  • phytic acid
  • rice bran
  • rumen protection

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