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Metabolic programming and monitoring tools in pre-weaned dairy calves

Plate, Peter


Peter Plate


The current knowledge on the effects of nutritional and environmental factors in the late embryonic and
neonatal phase of dairy calves on performance later in life is summarised. The importance of epigenetic factors is
increasingly recognised in this context.
Prolonged colostrum feeding, discouraged on most farms to prevent the spread of Johne’s disease, can have
benefi cial effects on the calf’s immune system and has been shown to give protection against rotavirus. The
importance of colostrum hygiene for uptake of antibodies is explained. Intensive milk or milk replacer feeding
leads to a more productive animal while reducing the rearing costs.
Iron defi ciency anaemia is a common condition in whole milk fed dairy calves, and monitoring haemoglobin
and supplementing iron where necessary leads to higher growth rates in calves. Other monitoring tools like lung
ultrasound scanning, and beta-hydroxy-butyrate testing at weaning are briefl y introduced. In conclusion, the
benefi ts of many early intervention measures are likely to be underestimated.


Plate, P. (2021). Metabolic programming and monitoring tools in pre-weaned dairy calves. Livestock, 26(3), 108-113.

Journal Article Type Review
Acceptance Date Apr 8, 2021
Online Publication Date May 3, 2021
Publication Date May 3, 2021
Deposit Date Jun 14, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jun 21, 2022
Print ISSN 2053-0862
Publisher Mark Allen Healthcare
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 26
Issue 3
Pages 108-113


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