Background: The objective of this randomized controlled trial was to determine the effect of feeding a commercial lacteal-derived colostrum replacer (CR) or pooled maternal colostrum (MC) on preweaning morbidity, growth and mortality in Holstein heifer calves. A total of 568 calves were randomly assigned to be fed either 3.8 L of pooled MC or two doses (200 g IgG) of a CR. Calves were monitored daily for preweaning morbidity until weaning at 60 d old. Birth and weaning weights were measured to estimate growth rates. Results: Calves fed CR were significantly less likely to be affected with a diarrhea event (OR = 0.58; 95% CI, 0.38 to 0.88; P value = 0.011) and had a higher rate of daily weight gain (0.051 kg/day; 95% CI, 0.03 to 0.08; P value <0.001) compared to calves fed pooled MC. Use of lacteal-derived colostrum replacer was not significantly associated with respiratory disease (OR = 1.01; 95% CI 0.67 to 1.51; P value = 0.974 ), omphalitis (OR = 0.93; 95% CI 0.06 to 14.86; P value = 0.956), or mortality (HR = 0.71; 95% CI 0.27 to 1.92; P value = 0.505) in the study calves. Conclusions: The lacteal-derived CR fed at the study dose was a viable colostrum alternative in the event of poor quality pooled MC for the prevention of preweaning diarrhea and resulted in higher growth rates in comparison to calves fed pooled MC in the study herd.
- Calf morbidity
- Daily weight gain
- Lacteal-derived colostrum replacer
- Pooled maternal colostrum
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