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Vet J. 2012 Jul;193(1):140-5. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2011.09.019. Epub 2011 Dec 16.

Effects of feeding rumen-protected choline on incidence of diseases and reproduction of dairy cows.

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Department of Animal Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA.


The objectives of this study were to determine the effects of feeding rumen-protected choline (RPC) to dairy cows on the incidence of disease in early lactation, and on their fertility as measured by return to ovarian cyclicity and pregnancies per insemination (P/AI). In the first experiment, 369 cows were fed 15 g/day of RPC between 25 days pre-calving and 80 days post calving. In the second experiment, 578 primigravid cows were fed 15 g/day of RPC for the last 21 days of gestation only. In both experiments, P/AI were evaluated for the first and second inseminations, and health disorders were monitored daily until 90 days after calving. Return to cyclicity was evaluated in experiment 1 only, on days 51 and 61 post calving. In the first experiment, feeding RPC reduced the incidence of clinical ketosis, mastitis, and morbidity, and the number of cases of mastitis per cow. Feeding RPC did not influence cyclicity and P/AI. In the second experiment, cows fed RPC tended to have greater morbidity than controls because of an increased incidence of metritis and fever, although the incidence of retained fetal membranes was lower. The P/AI for first and second inseminations were similar between treatments. Supplementing the diets of dairy cattle with RPC from before until after calving improved the health of early lactation cows. However, in primigravid cows feeding RPC before calving only had mixed effects on health. Feeding RPC had no beneficial effects on reproduction in either experiment.

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