The Effect of Essential Oil/Botanical Product on Growth and Performance of Calves Fed Milk Replacer
In two separate trials, the growth and performance of calves fed milk replacer (MR) containing an essential oil/botanical product were examined. Eighteen (18) and thirty-two (32) 3 – 10 d old Holstein bull calves with average initial weights of 43.3 kg (SD = 1.62 kg) and 47.6 kg (SD = 2.50 kg) were shipped from Wisconsin to the Land O’ Lakes Research Facility for trials 1 and 2, respectively. Calves were randomly assigned according to body weight (BW) and blood gamma globulin to either a control or experimental milk replacer. The experimental MR in both trials was the same as the control with an essential oil/botanical product (Digestarom, Micro-Plus Konzentrate; Stadtoldendorf, Germany) included at 0.05% active ingredient. Calves on trial 1 were fed to provide 680 g DM/d of a 22% protein/20% fat MR during days 1 – 35 in 2 feedings at 0600 and 1515h. Days 36 - 42, calves were offered 340 g DM/d in one feeding at 0600h. Calf starter (20% CP, as fed basis) was fed ad libitum. Calves on trial 2 were fed a 27% all milk protein/10% fat MR to provide 816 g DM/d during days 1 – 7, and 1135 g DM/d during days 8 – 42, in 2 feedings. Calves were offered 567.5 g in one feeding at 0600 h during days 43 - 49. Calf starter (22% CP, as fed basis) was fed ad libitum. Data were analyzed by Mixed Procedures of SAS. For trial 1, calves offered no essential oil/botanical product tended to be inferior in total weight gain (P = 0.12) and MR consumption (P = 0.11) when compared to calves offered an essential oil/botanical product. Calves receiving an essential oil/botanical product were numerically higher (P > 0.05) in total starter consumption when compared to calves receiving no essential oil/botanical product. For trial 2, while there was no statistical difference (P > 0.05) in total body weight gain, calves fed an essential oil/botanical product were numerically higher in total body weight gain when compared to calves fed no essential oil/botanical product. Calves offered an essential oil/botanical product were superior in feed efficiency (P = 0.07), hip height gain (P ≤ 0.01), and heart girth gain (P < 0.05), when compared to calves offered no essential oil/botanical product. Essential oil/botanical product improved calf growth and performance.
Keywords: calf, milk replacer, essential oil