Date of Completion

Spring 4-29-2022

Thesis Advisor(s)

Amy Safran

Honors Major

Individualized Major


Animal Sciences | Dairy Science


Pre-ruminant calves are particularly susceptible to pathological and environmental stressors that may have negative effects on their health and growth. Supplementing probiotics to this vulnerable population may have positive implications for the dairy industry, as probiotics may encourage improved growth rates and enhanced health in dairy neonates. However, there is variation in existing literature with regard to effectiveness. This study seeks to explore the impact of dietary probiotic supplement on health and growth parameters in pre-weaned dairy calves. Holstein and Jersey calves (n=30) were assigned to 1 of 2 treatment groups, receiving either 0 or 5 grams of probiotic containing Lactobacillus acidophilus, Enterococcus faecium, Lactobacillus plantarum, and Lactobacillus casei in their milk replacer once a day. Body weight, heart girth, wither height and hip height were measured weekly. Calves were given weekly health quality scores for cough, nasal discharge, eye discharge, ear carriage and behavior, and fecal output. Medical treatment was also recorded and analyzed, as applicable. SAS statistical software suite was used for data analysis. Probiotic supplementation impacted total wither height gain (P=0.0388) and wither height rate of gain (P=0.0461), positively for Holsteins and negatively for Jerseys. Cumulative fecal quality scores, cumulative condition quality scores, number of conditions, and number of affected weeks were not impacted by probiotic supplementation.

Included in

Dairy Science Commons