Digestive functions and growth performance in calves

For young ruminants not only the switch from monogastric milk digestion to a fully functional ruminant digestive tract is challenging. Other challenges in terms of feeding transition, the introduction of concentrate and fiber in the diet, weaning, and any changes in shelter and surroundings, must be overcome within the first weeks of life. All those challenges may often go along with instable digestive functions and reduced growth performance in calves. 

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Calf performance today impacts milk yield of tomorrow

A low feed intake during the first weeks of life can reduce long term growth rate and may impair later performance for all ruminant species. The time of first lactation milk production could be delayed in dairy cattle and dairy goats, just as the finishing performance of beef cattle and lambs could be negatively impacted, resulting in reduced profitability of the operation. Early feed intake is crucial for the development of a stable intestinal microbiota and for maintaining long term stable digestive functions in calves. 

Did you know?

In order to achieve high and consistent growth rate and thus a successful calf rearing, the most obvious way is to supply the calves with high quality nutrients in the appropriate balance and quantity at the right stage of growth and development. A healthy, stable gastrointestinal system from the start of life is one of the prerequisites for successful and economical production.

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The goal is healthy rearing and profitable calves, lambs and kid goats

Shortly after birth young ruminants are particularly susceptible to pathogenic microorganisms and viruses from the immediate environment. In particular if colostrum uptake or quality is reduced, or sufficient nutrients are not available, the immature intestine may weaken and be more susceptible to pathogenic challenges. Ensuring colostrum intake, as well as consistent supply of high quality nutrients from all sources, including concentrates and milk replacers, are necessary for maintaining healthy development and function of the growing ruminant digestive system and support of a strong immune system. Providing the building blocks for a successful start is an investment that adds value and profitability to any operation.

Challenges & Solutions Ruminants

You want to inform about other Challenges & Solutions?

Start with the power of nature:

Actifor® Start – for a natural start in life

  • Enhances feed intake and supports nutrient utilization, thus contributing to improved average daily gain
  • Contributes to enhanced robustness during challenging periods
  • Supports the maintenance of normal healthy digestive functions in calves

Profitable calf production needs a natural start: The unique active phytogenic complex in Actifor® Start, consisting of naturally extracted saponins, essential oils and mucilages, is tailored to the needs and preferences of young ruminants. Actifor® Start stimulates the appetite and supports the natural defenses of young animals, thus contributing to the maintenance of a healthy intestine. Through healthy digestive functions and feed conversion the calf's needs and production performance are supported even during challenging periods. 

Nature that works - proven scientifically

Actifor® Start contributes to support the maintenance of a normal healthy intestine.

Actifor® Start can help to support the natural defenses of calves.

The sophisticated formula of Actifor® Start helps to improve average daily gain and feed efficiency in calves.

*University trial ACTIFOR® START in rearing calves, Germany, 2014 
**Trial in veal calves with ACTIFOR® START, Netherlands
***Trial in veal calves with ACTIFOR® START, Netherlands


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