Achieving increased calf growth rates while also boosting their immune systems may sound like a tall order.
However, it’s precisely what can be accomplished with a gut-conditioning regime. Ruminant nutrition expert Natalie Hughes explains what makes this internationally-proven approach and its underlying nutritional formula so successful.
There is no denying calf feed is highly pertinent for the overall progress of young animals. After all, it’s through feed that calves ingest the vital nutrients and minerals that are so crucial at this time.
"When calves are young, they have an undeveloped immune system and need every support they can get," says Natalie, SealesWinslow Nutrition and Quality Manager.
"Adequate nutritional support is top of the list for reducing the negative impact on calf health at a time when the rumen and the immune system of the young animal is undergoing its developmental phase."
While standard calf feed can provide a solid start, it may also have shortcomings. For instance, does it contain all the best ingredients to aid in gut health?
Substantial advances can be made by going one step further than conventional minerals and coccidiostat-enriched feed options; the key thing is to enhance the gut development, inhibit unwelcome bacteria and stimulate the appetite.
That’s where a tailored feed supplement shows its worth – one that meets the calf’s specific requirements and is designed to improve the digestive tract development and the immune response.
"NuStart is a case in point," says Natalie. "It’s a premix with a formula that’s specifically tailored for the requirements of young calves and can be easily added to calf milk replacers and weaner feeds."
Developed by SealesWinslow, NuStart is formulated with a powerful blend of oils derived from natural herb oils and spices to stimulate the appetite and increase feed intake. The supplement also contains functional fibre which is an effective weapon in the fight against bad bacteria. "The functional fibre within NuStart attaches itself to the unwelcome pathogenic bacteria such as E.coli which in turn lose the ability to cling to the intestinal wall," explains Natalie. "As a result, these bacteria can’t linger and are expelled in the dung without causing much damage to the intestine." To further improve the rumen environment, the formula includes a prebiotic which encourages the growth of desirable bacteria.
The upshot of this approach is substantially improved rumen development and better health with associated flow-on effects such as enhanced nutrient absorption, along with stronger growth and development of the young calf. This is further enhanced with a range of trace elements and vitamins (also contained in the formula) to help eliminate deficiencies which can adversely impact the immune system and calf health in general. Essentially, this represents a targeted nutritional response that promotes more vigorous calves which are more likely to be weaned earlier.
NuStart has proven effective during extensive international use in the USA and UK where it showed substantially accelerated growth rates for calves in the first 12 weeks. This echoed various repeated trials carried out at research farms all over the world.
It demonstrates calf health and growth really is inherently linked with rumen health. Given the compelling results, this supplement makes a highly desirable addition to the nutritional toolbox. What’s more, it soon ‘earns its keep’ by way of providing optimised growth rates, healthy calves and reduced production costs.
NuStart is available as a milk additive and in SealesWinslow premium calf feed – Calf Pro1 20% Muesli, Calf Pro1 20% Pellets and Calf Grow 16% Pellets.
Article supplied by SealesWinslow