Different fat sources in milk replacer do not hurt pre- and post-weaning growth rates, according to a study presented in July at the annual meeting of the American Dairy Science Association.

The milk replacer contained 24 percent protein and 20 percent fat and only differed by fat source. The three fat treatments included: (1) animal fat, (2) a vegetable blend of 80 percent palm oil and 20 percent coconut oil and (3) animal fat, plus a blend of triglycerides containing 1 percent caproic acid, 69 percent caprylic acid, 1 percent capric acid and 29 percent lauric acid. Calves were fed 1.25 pounds of milk replacer powder twice daily from two days of age until weaning at 42 days. An 18-percent crude protein calf starter was available free-choice.

There were no differences in pre- and post-weaning average daily gains across all three treatment groups. There also was no difference in the feed-to-gain ratios of pre- and post-weaned calves in all three treatments. The following table details the study’s results:

 

Fat treatment

Pre-weaning to 42 days

Post-weaning (43 to 56 days)

 

Average daily gain, pounds

Feed-to-Gain, pounds

Average daily gain, pounds

Feed-to-Gain, pounds

Animal fat

1.43

1.72

2.09

2.22

Vegetable fat

1.37

1.75

2.09

2.13

Animal fat, plus
triglycerides

1.37

1.69

2.07

2.17

Source: Journal of Dairy Science Vol. 89, Suppl. 1, Abstract #W206, 2006.