Performance of calves fed on milk replacers containing fish protein hydrolysate

A. M. Petchey*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Milk substitutes for calves are based upon dried skim milk and added fats of vegetable or animal origin. Many attempts have been made to replace part of the skim milk in these feeds by cheaper sources of protein. A milk product coagulates in the calf's abomasum and has a high digestibility. Milk replacers based on fish protein hydrolysate (FPH) do not coagulate in the abomasum, but have a high apparent digestibility coefficient (0.92) and the amino acid balance is similar to that of skim milk. Calves were fed on milk replacers prepared from FPH made from various materials. In general, FPH prepared from white fish (cod, blue whiting, white fish offal) was satisfactory although calf performance until weaning was poorer than for calves fed on milk replacers with dried skim milk (SMP). Some ways are suggested by which the quality of the product (FPH) could be maintained. FPH preparations from fatty fish, like sprats and mackerel, were also used. An antioxidant was added in the preparation of sprats and mackerel because of the unsaturated nature of fish fats. Milk replacers containing sprats prepared without an antioxidant and mackerel (31% body fat) with antioxidant were unsatisfactory and further development work is required on FPH materials from fatty fish. FPH from white fish can be dried without any appreciable loss in calf performance. The daily gain to weaning was 0.25 and 0.29 kg per day for calves fed on the dried and undried material, respectively. On the basis of present knowledge it is suggested that FPH can replace one third of skim milk in milk replacers for early weaned calves; the proportion recommended may rapidly increase with further technical development of the product.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-146
Number of pages6
JournalAnimal Feed Science and Technology
Issue number2
Publication statusPrint publication - Mar 1982


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