During the weaning period, calves are susceptible to a number of health-threatening complications. Levels of gastrointestinal tract (GIT) stress, diarrhoea and other illnesses can be either exacerbated or curtailed in function of how and when weaning occurs.
Also, the quality and quantity of feed introduced during this critical period can also impact calf health and overall well-being. In terms of performance, higher calf growth rates prior to weaning can set the stage for continued growth post weaning and a lifetime of enhanced productivity. With more farms opting for the health and performance benefits of a higher plane of nutrition prior to weaning, it's a good time to look at which weaning practices are best adapted to supporting continued performance gains.
Traditional practices vs modern day practice:
Over the past decade there has been a shift away from weaning calves as early as possible. While this had originally been done in order to decrease feed costs and speed up rumen development, feeding calves restricted levels of milk not only creates weaning stress and negatively affects growth rates, but it also leads to other significant welfare issues.
The recent shift towards feeding calves an elevated plane of nutrition pre-weaning brings with it a host of benefits including improvements in health, growth rates, feed efficiency and lifetime milk production.
Change in diet:
Weaning is a stressful time and this can have a major impact on calf immunity and gut health. The type of feed changes from milk and concentrates to grass and concentrates. A 2015 study by the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Alberta showed that the biological changes in the digestive tract that come with weaning actually increase the permeability of the gastrointestinal tract. This increase was most pronounced in the rumen, the duodenum and the jejunum, thus increasing the susceptibility of calves to digestive tract problems. IOMLÁN can help with experience and advice on calf weaning.
Gut health and immunity
The majority (70%) of the immune system is related to the gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, the composition and diversity of microflora in the gut plays an important role in the establishment and the maintenance of immunity.
An intestinal disorder causes a change in the composition of the microflora. This is called dysbiosis. This reduces the resistance and pathogenic bacteria can grow if the calf is more susceptible to infections with other pathogens. With an intestinal disorder the digestion and absorption of nutrients are also negatively affected. Through this disruption the intestinal tissue can become damaged and there is more risk of infection and inflammation in the intestine.
Source: Smits, Jansman, Savelkoul, Rebel; "The role of microbiota for a balanced immune system '; 2014
Neofenol is a feed and milk (replacer) application based on plant genes. The active substances in Neofenol are phenols such as carvacrol and thymol. These substances are matrix encapsulated allowing them to be slowly released in the gastrointestinal tract.
Neofenol is an ideal to use as a preventive in times of stress such as start-up, scours, feed changes, weaning and other intestinal disorders.This prevents the use of antibiotics.
Neofenol can be used for veal calves but also on farms to support gut health during rearing.
Ruminant is a prebiotic digestive enhancer specially formulated for sheep and cattle. Ruminant contains a concentrated blend of enzymes and secondary metabolites. Ruminant aids in maintaining efficient rumen function through periods of stress such as weaning, transport and feed changes.
This formulation is designed specifically to support muscle growth and feeds for optimal rumen development in young ruminants.The Beef/Heifer mixture helps optimal growth, healthy calves and a good quality colostrum.
Calf is a prebiotic digestive enhancer specially formulated for calves. BioStart Calf contains a concentrated blend of enzymes and secondary metabolites from the fermentation of Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium and Streptococcus thermophilus. BioStart Calf aids in the full utilization of liquid feeds and early rumen development.
Iomlán Beef capsules
IOMLÁN Beef capsules is a complex blend of chelated trace elements, vitamin and amino acids, specifically formulated to meet the requirements of cows. It is formulated to provide cows with the optimum balance of micro-nutrients to help balance nutritional deficiencies.