Performance of calves receiving probiotic containing “Bacillus subtilis” and “Bacillus licheniformis”

SUMMARY Twenty-four Holstein calves were utilized and received 4L/d of liquid diet consisting of commercial milk replacer, and had free access to water and starter concentrate. Weaning occurred at the 8th week of age. Animals were distributed in a randomized block design, in the following treatments: 1) Control - without supplementation with probiotic, 2) Supplementation: 2g/d of Bacillus subtilis and Bacillus licheniformis, via milk replacer. Every week calves were weighted and body measurements were taken. Blood samples were drawn weekly for determination of hematocrit, glucose, total protein, urea and albumin. Fecal samples were weekly collected for lactic acid bacteria, enterobacteria couting and fecal pH determination. Concentrate starter intake and fecal scores were monitored daily. Body weight, average daily gain, and corporal measurements were not affected by the supplementation of probiotic; however, presented a significant age effect. The fecal score, fecal pH and starter intake were not affected by probiotic supplementation. However, starter intake and fecal pH were affected by age due to calves’ natural growth. The acid lactic bacteria count was higher than the count of enterobacteria during the whole evaluation period. Only enterobacteria were affected by the age of animals, while acid lactic bacteria remained constant despite little variations. Blood parameters were also not affect by supplementation of probiotic, but all of them, except albumin concentrations, were influenced by age. The supplementation with probiotic containing Bacillus subtilis and Bacillus licheniformis via milk replacer presented no benefits in dairy calves performance or metabolism and did not reduced the occurrence of diarrhea.