Use of pasteurized and acidified milk in calves nutrition

Use of pasteurized or acidified or combined pasteurized and acidified milk in calf nutrition nowadays becomes more and more popular to prevent gastrointestinal health issues in young calves. Health issues connected to the gastrointestinal tract mostly manifest by diarrhoea, for which treatment protocols often include antibiotic usage.

One option to improve the gastrointestinal health status and reduce the necessity of antibiotic usage is feeding calves with free access to pasteurized and acidified milk. In general milk is a very favourable substance for bacterial growth. To reduce the active bacterial contamination in milk the milk can be pasteurised at 64 degrees C for 30 minutes. After it is important to cool down the pasteurised milk to 10 – 15 degrees C. To prevent diseases of the digestive tract, only pasteurized milk should be fed. But in order to provide calves with an ad libitum milk feeding system, it is advisable that pasteurized milk is additionally acidified. The low pH value of milk slows down the growth of bacteria and the acidified milk can be kept in feeders for calves for longer periods. Milk acidifiers mostly consist of organic acids which are added to pasteurised and cooled milk. Pasteurised and acidified milk can be poured in individual buckets with rubber teats in individual calf housing systems. Use of a milk taxi eases the milk distribution. Automated milk feeders can also be used in group keeping systems. The pasteurization and lowering the pH of milk controls bacterial growth and allows larger quantities of milk to be provided for ad libitum feeding of calves and provides physiological needs, promotes its health status and reduces the need for treatment with antibiotics.