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Effects of pre-weaning plane of milk replacer and feeding frequency on glucose metabolism in dairy calves Open Access


Other title
calf nutrition
glucose and insulin
abomasal emptying
plane of nutriton
feeding frequency
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
MacPherson, Jayden A R
Supervisor and department
Dr. Michael Steele
Examining committee member and department
Dr. Michael Steele, Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta.
Dr. Masahito Oba, Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta.
Dr. Divakar Ambrose, Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta and Livestock Research & Extension Branch, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
Department of Agricultural, Food, and Nutritional Science
Animal Science
Date accepted
Graduation date
2016-06:Fall 2016
Master of Science
Degree level
Feeding dairy calves large milk meal sizes at a low feeding frequency has been associated with reduced insulin sensitivity in previous literature. Therefore, the aim of this thesis was to investigate the influence of feeding an elevated plane of milk on glucose metabolism in calves pre- and post-weaning. To assess insulin sensitivity in calves in chapter 2 and 3, postprandial plasma glucose and insulin concentrations (pre-weaning), as well as insulin response to a glucose tolerance test (GTT; pre and post-weaning) were evaluated. In addition, in chapter 2 the rate of abomasal emptying was characterized pre-weaning to determine the extent of its control over glucose appearance in the blood. Results from chapter 2 where calves were fed a low (4 L/day) or a high (8 L/day) plane of milk twice daily indicated that calves fed either treatment did not experience hyperglycemia or hyperinsulinemia. Additionally, responses to a GTT were similar pre- or post-weaning suggesting both treatments had similar glucose tolerance at all ages. Abomasal emptying was reduced in calves fed a larger meal size (4 L) which indicates it can be used to modulate the appearance of glucose in the blood to prevent hyperglycemia. In chapter 3, feeding an elevated plane of milk (8 L/day) fed over four (4x; meal size 2 L) or two meals per day (2x; meal size 4 L) was compared. Neither treatment resulted in a state of hyperglycemia or hyperinsulinemia, and responses to the GTT were similar indicating similar glucose tolerance. Overall findings from this thesis suggest that calves fed an elevated plane of milk do not experience reduced insulin sensitivity when fed at differing frequencies of 2 or 4 times a day or when compared to calves fed a low plane of milk (4 L/day). These results have significant implications for the dairy industry as this means dairy operations can feed calves more milk, up to 8 L fed over two meals a day, allowing for greater pre-weaning growth without compromising glucose metabolism pre- or post-weaning.
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private, scholarly or scientific research. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
Citation for previous publication
J. A. R. MacPherson, H. Berends, L. N. Leal, J. P. Cant, J. Martin Tereso, and M. A. Steele. 2016. Effect of plane of milk replacer intake and age on glucose and insulin kinetics and abomasal emptying in female Holstein Friesian dairy calves fed twice daily. Journal of Dairy Science. 99:8007-8017.

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