Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Animal, Dairy, and Veterinary Sciences

Committee Chair(s)

Randall D. Wiedmeier


Randall D. Wiedmeier


Jeffrey L. Walters


G. Reed Holyoak


Robert C. Lamb


Twenty-two primiparous Holstein heifers were allocated to one of two treatments. Treatments consisted of: l) basal ration plus 226.8 g inorganic mineral supplement (control); and 2) basal ration plus 226.8 g inorganic mineral and metal proteinate supplement (50:50). Individual heifer performance was measured during the final l 0 weeks of the prepartum period. Feed intake and refusals were recorded daily. Individual heifer body weights recorded weekly did not differ significantly. Blood samples taken at 4-week intervals did not differ in plasma concentration between treatments. Calf birth weights for control heifers were not significantly higher than calves from the treatment heifers.

The same twenty-two Holstein heifers used in the prepartum period were assigned to the same treatment groups for the 20-week postpartum lactation period. Treatments consisted of: 1) basal ration plus 453.6 g inorganic mineral supplement (control); and 2) basal ration plus 453.6 g inorganic mineral supplement and metal proteinate supplement (50:50). Dry matter intake and milk yield were recorded daily. Milk composition and body weights were recorded weekly. Feed and fecal samples were collected to determine apparent nutrient digestibility, using acid insoluble ash as an internal marker. Blood samples taken at. 4-week intervals showed no significant difference (Ρ < .05) in plasma mineral composition. No statistical difference was observed in milk yield between treatments (Ρ < .05). Percent lactose in milk samples from the treatment group was significantly higher (Ρ < .05) than that of the control group. Apparent nutrient digestibilities did not differ between treatment groups. Starting on day 5 postpartum, cows were observed for signs of estrus and bred at first observed estrus after 60 days postpartum. Days to first estrus were significantly lower (Ρ< .05) in the treatment group. The feet of each heifer were critically evaluated and scored according to six separate criteria at the start and at the finish of the trial. The texture category of the hoof evaluation score was significantly lower (Ρ < .05), favoring the treatment group over the control group.