Effects of feeding a high- or moderate-starch prepartum diet to cows on newborn dairy heifer calf responses to intravenous glucose tolerance tests early in life

J. Haisan, Y. Inabu, W. Shi, M. Oba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of feeding a prepartum diet with a high or moderate starch content on growth and insulin sensitivity of female offspring early in life. Thirty-eight Holstein heifer calves were born to dams fed either a high-starch (26% starch on a DM basis, HI; n = 20) or moderate-starch (14% starch on a DM basis, MOD; n = 18) prepartum diet commencing at 28 ± 3 d before expected parturition date. Following birth, all calves were housed individually and fed three 2-L meals of colostrum within the first 24 h of life and offered 10 L/d of milk replacer (26% CP, 18% fat, mixed to 130 g/L). Body weight of calves was measured at birth and on d 2 (after colostrum feeding but before milk feeding), 10 ± 2, and 20 ± 2. A glucose tolerance test was performed at a minimum of 6 h after their last colostrum or milk meal to evaluate insulin sensitivity on d 2, 10 ± 2 and 20 ± 2. Body weight did not differ throughout between HI and MOD calves; however, calves born to primiparous dams were smaller compared with those born to multiparous dams. Glucose or insulin concentrations were not different before the glucose tolerance test. Following the glucose tolerance test, maximum glucose concentrations were not different between treatments at any time point. However, HI calves had greater insulin area under the curve, and HI calves had greater maximum insulin concentrations on d 2. Glucose or insulin clearance rates were not different nor was the calculated insulin sensitivity index between treatments. These findings suggest that feeding a HI prepartum diet may reduce some insulin sensitivity indicators of female offspring early in life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8931-8940
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics

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