Selected Feed Additives To Improve Growth And Health Of Dairy Calves

In the first few days of life, the microbial population of calves is not fully developed and functional, and stress factors such as boning, weaning, vaccination, or extreme temperature fluctuations can cause decreased immunity leading to diarrhea, then weight loss, decrease in working capacity.

Farmers often use antibiotics to prevent and treat diarrhea in calves. Monensin is an iontophoresis antibiotic that has anticoccidial and antibacterial properties. It is used commercially as a coccidiostat for poultry and as a ruminant growth stimulant.  

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However, the use of ionophores in livestock production has been banned in many countries due to the development of monensin resistance by some bacteria.

As a result, some products such as probiotics and essential oils have been used as an alternative to antibiotics to minimize environmental risks and ensure food safety.

Probiotics have beneficial effects on the digestive tract, for example by modulating the immune system and reducing diarrhea rates. 

Essential oil (EO) is widely used as a new grade feed additive to improve the gut microbiota of pets and has beneficial effects on the performance and health of calves. 

EO is a mixture of many chemical compounds, especially terpene derivatives, which have antimicrobial properties. It is also suggested that adding EC to concentrate can increase the dry matter intake (DMI) of calves and increase average daily gain of calves.