Intestinal problems are common in calves, taking place between birth and weaning, predominantly until 3 weeks of age. Scours account for 75 % of all deaths under 3 weeks of age. Short chain fatty acids (SCFA) produced by the beneficial microbiota in the colon of pre-ruminant calves between 2 and 4 weeks of age contain high concentrations of butyrate and lactate. These SCFA are bringing beneficial effects for the intestinal health during the first weeks of life. Among these beneficial effects of SCFA, butyrate is known to be a key molecule in maintaining intestinal health and butyrate based products could be beneficial in the battle against calf scours and for gut health management in general of these pre-ruminant calves.

BUTIFOUR® NF is based on a synergism between calcium butyrate, stimulating gut/rumen development and maturity, calcium lactate, stimulating the butyrate producing beneficial microflora, and natural ingredients, supporting the gut’s digestive activity. With BUTIFOUR® NF, ruminal and intestinal development is guaranteed as well as the digestive process in young calves, supporting them in their growth to become an efficiently producing dairy cow. A recent study conducted at Harper Adams University demonstrated the positive effect of BUTIFOUR® NF on the initial growth and supporting the intestinal health of the calves.

New-born calves depend upon colostrum intake for the acquisition of immunoglobulins (Ig) and other beneficial substances. However, colostrum is also a source of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Intrinsic production of ROS also increases after birth, so the combination of colostral and intrinsic ROS could overwhelm the antioxidant capacity of the calf leading to oxidative stress (OS). To counter these problems of cellular oxidative stress diets are traditionally supplemented with antioxidative compounds such as vitamin E and selenium. IMPEXTRACO developed ELIFE ® based on a combination of plant extracts rich in polyphenols as useful alternative to counter the oxidative stress in animals based on the Kit Radical Libre (KRL) test.

It can be concluded that health supporting natural products (BUTIFOUR® and ELIFE ®) play an important role in calf nutrition in order to achieve the best growth rate during first weeks of life assuring a healthy start and prepare the heifer for optimal milk production.