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J Dairy Sci. 2013 Feb;96(2):1094-101. doi: 10.3168/jds.2011-4949. Epub 2012 Nov 29.

Effects of short-chain fructooligosaccharides on growth performance of preruminant veal calves.

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  • 1Tereos Syral, 67390 Marckolsheim, France.


This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of 2 different daily doses of short-chain fructooligosaccharides (scFOS), a prebiotic ingredient, added to a calf milk replacer on growth performance, carcass characteristics, and fecal concentrations of short-chain fatty acids of preruminant veal calves. In total, 112 male Prim'Holstein calves, between 8 and 10d of age, were randomized in this study according to their body weight and were bred until the age of 168 d. They were fed a calf milk replacer containing 5% soluble wheat proteins as well as cereal-based pellets, the composition of which was adapted to cover the needs of the animals throughout the study. After 2 wk of adaptation, the calf milk replacer was supplemented or not supplemented with a daily dose of 3 or 6g of scFOS. Growth performance of calves, as measured by body weight, cold carcass weight, feed intake, average daily gain, and feed conversion ratio, was recorded and feces samples were taken to evaluate short-chain fatty acid concentrations. The inclusion of wheat proteins in milk replacer did not negatively affect the growth performance of calves in comparison with general standards. The addition of scFOS in the milk reduced the feed conversion ratio of veal calves in a dose-dependent manner and tended to increase the carcass weight. A general trend was observed for an increased production of total short-chain fatty acids in time, but scFOS decreased acetate proportion to the benefit of butyrate proportion. These data suggest that inclusion of scFOS in the calf milk replacer allowed the growth performance of preruminant calves to be enhanced, possibly via a modification of the activities of microbial fermentation.

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