Calf is  a prebiotic digestive enhancer specially formulated for calves. It is powered by Signal Molecule Technology. Calf contains a concentrated blend of enzymes and secondary metabolites from the fermentation of Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium andStreptococcus thermophilus. Calf aids in the full utilization of liquid feeds and early rumen development.


  • Stimulates immune system.
  • Easy to use & palatable.
  • No withholding period.
  • Boosts early rumen function.
  • Contains rennet to increase milk digestion thereby reducing the likelihood of nutritional scours.


  • New born - New born calves should receive an initial oral dose of 2ml per head as soon as possible after their first feed.
  • Calves on milk replaces - Mix with whole milk or milk replacer at the rate of 1ml per head per feed for the first 3 weeks. Once BioStart Calf has been added to milk, feed within 20 minutes.
  • Brought in calves - Administer an oral dose of 2ml per head before or after transportation.



Mr. Noel Beecher & Mr. Mike Burgess Castlelyons, Co. Cork

Noel Beecher and Farm Manager Mike Burgess milk 300 cows in Castlelyons, Co. Cork.

Calf rearing can be quite difficult & time consuming on any dairy farm and both Noel & Mike recognise this from experience. In order to improve calf health and to prevent calf illness, the Hygiene concept from Iomlán Animal Science is used in conjunction with Biostart Calf.


Biostart Calf is an enzyme feed supplement for calves and is added to the milk on a daily basis. Mike has years of experience using Biostart Calf. He has been using it since 1995, where he used it on dairy farms in New Zealand. Mike insisted using Biostart Calf once he began managing the dairy farm in Castlelyons. Mike knew the benefits of Biostart Calf after many years of experience using it but had to convince Noel to use it.  


A 10 day comparison was carried out to prove its worth. The heifer calves and bull calves were divided and fed the very same apart from the heifers received Biostart Calf. The Heifers were “clearly healthier” said Noel, with “no scouring and they had good shiny coats”. “We have often given 8-9L of whole milk to calves/day without hassle.” Biostart Calf and a good hygiene plan are a must when it comes to calf rearing, It’s a product I’d recommend to all interested in rearing good healthy calves” “It is comforting to know that when you go to the calf shed that the calves are going to healthy”. Biostart Calf is used on Heifer calves for a 3-4 week period and the follow on product Biostart Ruminant is then used. The calves continued to grow well throughout the year.


Animal health and calf rearing in particular require a total approach in order to prevent disease. The Hygiene concept is used to reduce the infection pressure and disease build up and the Biostart Calf is used to help boost immune function. Biostart Calf helps boost early rumen development with prebiotics.


Trial aim

The aim of this trial was to evaluate the effect of using the Biostart calf rearing products (BioStart Calf and BioStart Ruminant) on calf live weight and live weight gain over the first 10 weeks of life on a commercial dairy farm.



The trial was conducted in Te Awamutu during the 1996 calving season on a commercial dairy farm. The treatments were either no calf rearing products (control) or the Biostart calf rearing programme; Calf for first 21 days at 2 x 1 mL/calf/day, followed by Ruminant 1 mL/calf/feed/day. For the trial the Biostart products were added to the calf milk replacer just prior to feeding the calves.

There were 19 calves per group with each groups being age and weight matched. The trial was conducted over 10 weeks and calves were weighed at fortnightly intervals.


The two groups had very similar birth weights, 29.3 and 29.4 kg for control and Biostart-treated calves, respectively (Table 1) which was ideal for this trial. At 24 days of age there was no difference in live weight between the two groups, however, at days 38, 52 and 68 the Biostart-treated calves were 6, 6 and 7 % heavier than control calves.

Table 1 Live weights of the control and Biostart-treated calves.

Live Weight (kg) Age (d) Control Biostart BioStart Increase
  Birth 29.3 29.4  
Calf 24 45.4 45.9 1%
Ruminant 38 55.2 58.4 6%
Ruminant 52 63.9 67.8 6%
Ruminant 68 73.7 79.2 7%

A better way of comparing live weights of calves in this type of trial is to record changes relative to a calf’s birth weight. The actual birth weights of calves is affected by a number of factors including breed (Friesian calves are generally heavier than Jersey calves), age of the mother (heifers generally have lighter calves) and nutrition of the mother during late pregnancy. Each of these factors impacts on birth weight as well as the rate at which a calf grows. 

A better measurement of a products performance in a calf rearing trial is to therefore look at a calf’s live weight relative to a calf’s birth weight as this takes into consideration the impacts of breed, age of the mother and pregnancy nutrition. Using this correction for birth weight the Biostart treated calves were 13, 10 and 16 % heavier at 38, 52 and 68 days, respectively (Table 2; Figure 1).

Table 2 Changes in live weight relative to birth weight for control and Biostart-treated calves.

LWt Relative to BWt Age (d) Control Biostart BioStart Increase
Calf 24 156.5 157.5 1%
Ruminant 38 190.3 202.8 7%
Ruminant 52 220.7 238.7 8%
Ruminant 68 255.2 284.4 11%

Figure 1 Liveweight relative to birthweight of control and Biostart-treated Calves.


The live weight gain per day indicates how well a particular calf is growing. The Biostart treated calves grew 14, 11 and 18 % faster at 38, 52 and 68 days, respectively, when compared to control calves (Table 3). 

Table 3 Live weight gain rates for control and Biostart-treated calves.

LWt Gain Rate Since Birth (g/d) Age (d) Control Biostart Biostart Increase
Calf 24 674 697 3%
Ruminant 38 681 776 14%
Ruminant 52 804 892 11%
Ruminant 68 681 802 18%


Administering the 10 week Biostart calf rearing treatment (21 days of Calf, followed by 48 days of Ruminant) the Biostart-treated calves;- 

  • Were 7 % heavier live weight (79 compared to 74 kg) 
  • Were 11 % heavier live weight relative to birth weight (255 compared to 284kg) 
  • Had an 18 % superior growth rate of 802 g/d compared to 681 g/d for the control calves.