In the world of animal agriculture, the health and well-being of livestock is of utmost importance. When it comes to calves, ensuring their optimal growth and development is a top priority.
Research has shown promising results regarding the use of probiotics in calves. They have been associated with improved weight gain, reduced incidence of gastrointestinal disorders, enhanced immune response, and even increased feed efficiency.
Probiotics have gained recognition in recent years for their potential benefits in promoting gut health and overall immunity in various species, including calves. As these young animals transition from milk to solid feed during the weaning process, their delicate digestive systems can be susceptible to stress and imbalances.
By incorporating probiotics into the calves’ diet during this critical stage, farmers can provide them with beneficial bacteria that aid in digestion and nutrient absorption. Probiotics work by populating the gut with “good” bacteria, helping to maintain a healthy microbial balance.
Probiotic mineral feed supplements for calves have gained significant attention in the livestock industry. One particular type of supplement, a natural liquid probiotic made with seaweed (kelp), has shown promising results in promoting the optimal maturation of the rumen microbiota in calves.
Day 1 Supplementation
It is noteworthy that these probiotics can be administered to calves as early as day one, indicating their potential benefits, right from the start of a calf’s life. By introducing probiotics, at such an early stage, it is believed that the development and diversity of beneficial bacteria in the rumen can be enhanced. Thus, leading to improved digestion and overall health.
Furthermore, research has indicated that the use of natural liquid probiotics can increase digestion safety during weaning. Weaning is a critical phase for young calves as they transition from milk to solid feed. The introduction of probiotics during this period has been shown to support smoother transitions.
Alongside this, studies have indicated reduced digestive disturbances, commonly associated with weaning stress. These beneficial bacteria play a crucial role in balancing the microbiota in calves, leading to reduced mortality rates.
During the weaning process, calves undergo significant changes in their diet and environment, which can disrupt their delicate gut microbiota. This disruption often results in digestive issues, calf scour, and can lead to increased mortality rates.
By incorporating probiotics into the calves’ diet, farmers can help restore and maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in their digestive systems. Probiotics work by introducing beneficial microorganisms that support proper digestion and nutrient absorption.
Studies have shown that probiotics can enhance immune function, improve gut health, and reduce the incidence of calf scour. These benefits contribute to lower mortality rates among calves during the critical weaning period.
In addition to enhancing rumen health, and digestion safety, natural liquid probiotics have also demonstrated their ability to reduce the risk of pathogen colonization in calves. By promoting a balanced microbiota within the rumen, these supplements create an environment less favorable for harmful pathogens to establish themselves.
Furthermore, probiotics offer a natural alternative to antibiotics commonly used to combat calf scour. With growing concerns about antibiotic resistance and consumer demand for sustainable farming practices, probiotics provide a viable solution for promoting calf health without relying solely on antibiotics.
In young pre-ruminants, bacterial probiotics such as lactic acid bacteria (Lactobacillus spp., Bifidobacterium spp., Enterococcus spp., Propionibacterium spp.) or Bacillusspores generally target the small intestine, as the rumen is not yet developed, and they represent an interesting means to stabilise the gut microbiota and limit the risk of pathogen colonisation. However, live yeast distributed from the first days after birth have been reported to favour microbial colonisation and the set-up of fermentative capacities in the rumen.
Ruminal acidosis continues to be a common digestive disorder in high producing dairy or beef cattle, and the severity of acidosis can vary from acute forms due to lactic
acid overload to subacute forms due to the accumulation of volatile fatty acids (Nagaraja and Titgemeyer, 2007). Acidosis is not only responsible for a decrease in animal performance, but is also often related to health issues such as laminitis, bloat, or liver abscess (Nocek, 1997; Enemark, 2008). In vitro studies have reported that live
yeasts could influence the balance of lactate-metabolising bacteria, by limiting lactate production by Streptococcus bovis and favouring lactate uptake by Megasphaera elsdenii or Selenomonas ruminantium (Chaucheyras et al., 1996; Nisbet and Martin, 1991; Rossi et al., 2004). Brossard et al. (2006) reported that one strain of S. cerevisiae could prevent pH decrease by stimulating certain populations of
ciliate protozoa, which rapidly engulf starch and thereby effectively compete with amylolytic, lactate-producing bacteria. Regarding bacterial probiotics, lactate-producing bacteria (Enterococcus, Lactobacillus), which would sustain a constant level of lactic acid, thus allowing the lactateutilising species to flourish (Nocek et al., 2002; Nocek and Kautz, 2006) may represent a possible means to limit acidosis in high-concentrate fed animals. M. elsdenii or Propionibacterium spp., which utilise lactate as an energy source, could be administered as direct-fed microbials to avoid ruminal lactate engorgement (Klieve et al., 2003; Stein et al., 2006).
– Beneficial Microbes by Chaucheyras-Durand and Fonty, 2002.
Calf Scour Preventative
Calf scour is the single most common cause of calf mortality under 2 months of age. According to experts, one of the primary causes of calf scour is inadequate nutrition to the pregnant cow at the later stage of pregnancy. Vet treatments generally include oral saline, electrolytes and antibiotics.
South Australian cattle farmer, Brad, has been using SONIC Probiotic Liquid Seaweed Livestock Feed Supplement for his cattle as a preventative treatment for calf scour, adding the liquid Minerals to water troughs. After a short time of use, since February this year (2023), Brad says “I’m still seeing scour in the calves, but I haven’t lost any”.
Seaweed delivers a multi mineral supplement like no other. Offering it to cattle, in a pre-digested form (cold fermented), enables the animal to easily uptake the nutrients, along with the natural probiotics that optimise digestion.
Colonies of Lactic Acid Bacteria found in SONIC Natural Farming Probiotic Liquid Seaweed for Livestock. (Above Image).
Probiotic and Seaweed Mineral Powerhouse
SONIC Probiotic Liquid Seaweed Livestock Feed Supplements provide a natural source of yeasts and lactic acid bacteria. These compounds support gut health by enhancing beneficial bacteria growth while inhibiting the growth of harmful pathogens.
Furthermore, Probiotic Liquid Seaweed Supplements can also contribute to overall calf growth and development by providing essential nutrients that may be lacking in their diet during the weaning phase.
Overall, incorporating natural liquid probiotic seaweed minerals, into calf nutrition programs, offers potential benefits for optimising rumen development. It also improves digestion safety during weaning, and reduces pathogen colonisation risks.
In conclusion, incorporating probiotics into the diets of young calves during weaning can help balance their microbiota, reduce mortality rates, and mitigate the occurrence of calf scour. The use of 100% natural products not only benefits farms, farmers and the food chain, but contributes to sustainable solutions in animal agricultural practices, by utilising renewable and natural resources that are safe for the environment.