Energy Supply

Animal health and accuracy of feeding in the transition period determine how fast feed intake and energy content after calving  can be optimized!

Increasing energy absorption during peak milk yield

  • Increasing feed intake
  • Increasing energy content of feed ration

Transition period feeding

Ideally, Holstein Friesian cows should be adjusted to a BCS of 3.5 prior to calving.

  • Early dry period (far-off period)
    An excessive energy supply must be avoided as overconditioned animals absorb less feed p.p.
  • Preparatory feeding (close-up period, 2-3 weeks prior to calving)
    In addition to basic feed components of good quality, a gradual increase of energy content (equivalent to approximately 3 kg concentrate/cow/day)covers increased energy requirements of the cow at the end of gestation and prepares the rumen for concentrate-rich feeding p.p. 6.
  • Adjustment feeding (- 3 weeks p.p.)
    Stimulation of feed intake has highest priority as cows tend towards a negative energy and nutritional balance. All measures for the stimulation of feed intake and increase of energy content must be gradually implemented in order to avoid subacute ruminal acidosis (SARA). Changes of basic feed components should never be made abruptly. Fat should not be added to feed in this period since it further exacerbates the imbalance between glucogenic and lipogenic energy carriers and thus reduces feed intake 66.

Stimulation of feed intake

  • Basic feed components of good quality
  • Gradual, slow increase of energy contetnt
  • Providing regularly fresh TMR
  • Fiber length adjusted to fit  shortened ruminal retention  of feed 28

Increasing energy content

  • Feeding of rumen-protected starch 5, 25
  •  Addition of fat p.p. 27, which limits the risk of ruminal acidosis

Therapy of ketosis - feeding

  • Glucose intravenously or as drench.
    The oral substitution of larger quantities of glucose (up to 2 kg/d) is well tolerated by the animals as glucose is absorbed via ruminal epithelium 1, 3 and also stored as glycogen by rumen protozoa 10. The protozoal glycogen is then available to the animal postruminal as source of glucose.
  • Glucoplastic substances (sodium propionate, propylene glycol,...)
  • Link to other parenteral therapy options (e.g. glucocorticoids, Butaphosphan & Vitamin B12, …)

Increasing feed intake

  • High-quality, tasty feed (addition of flavorings: essential oils)
  • Fiber structure optimized for quick passage through the rumen and a "manageable" acidosis risk (peNDF >8 mm approx. 15%)
  • Health management, prevention of milk fever!

Increasing energy content

  • Feed of rumen-protected starch
    • Corn
    • Sorghum
    • Barley (lactic acid-treated, if necessary)
    • NaOH-treated wheat
  • Feeding fat (> 3 weeks p.p.)
    • Total fat 5% of dry substance (up to 7% protected fats)

Rumen fill

Rumen fill informs you how the cow is eating. Seen from the rear, rumen should be bulging 45.


Score 1

Deep shrunken left side; the skin on top of the diagonal protuberance of the lumbar vertebra is caved in. The fold of skin goes clearly vertically down from the hip bone. The rumen pit behind the rib bow is more than a hand’s width. Seen from the side you have a rectangular flank view.

Score 2

The skin over the diagonal protuberance of the lumbar vertebra is caved in. The fold of skin from the hip bone bump folds slopes to the front, to the rib bow. The rumen pit behind the rib bow equals a hand’s width. Seen from the side, you have a triangular view.

Score 3

The skin over the diagonal protuberance of the lumbar vertebra goes vertically down first and then curves to the outside. The fold of the skin from the hip bone is not visible, but the rumen pit behind the rib bow can be seen.

Score 4

The skin across the diagonal protuberance of the lumbar vertebra is curved directly to the outside. Behind the rib bow, no rumen pit can be seen.

Score 5

The diagonal protuberance of the lumbar vertebra is not visible because of a well-filled rumen. The belly skin is strongly stretched. No transition from the side to the ribs can be seen.

* see also our references page

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