The present study aimed to investigate blood biomarkers encompassing the metabolic status of Simmental calves, with emphasis on weekly differences in the pre-weaning period. Ten Italian Simmental calves were used for the experiment and were offered 6 L of bulk whole milk/d from an open-bucket starting at day 2 from birth and through 5 weeks. Blood samples were collected at birth and weekly to assess biochemical indicators related to energy metabolism and liver function, minerals, markers of inflammation, and oxidative stress. Body weight (BW), heart girth (HG), and solid feed intake were positively affected by aging. Calves increased solid feed intake consumption after 2 week and reached a BW gain of 28.16 kg at 5 weeks. Most of blood biomarkers were affected by age, mostly concerned the period after birth and day 1, whereas no changes were observed for haptoglobin, urea, β-hydroxybutyrate, Na, and K. The amount of milk fed to calves throughout this study contributes to the maintenance of glucose concentration over time, coupled also with a considerable amount of starter intake. Glucose levels associated to the high ADG (0.89 ± 0.09 kg/d, mean ± SEM) suggest that calves experienced a positive energy balance throughout the entire pre-weaning period. Similar levels of haptoglobin and ceruloplasmin, together with a gradual increase of albumin, reflect good liver functionality and a stable condition regarding the inflammatory status. These results suggest that blood biomarkers of Simmental calves in the pre-weaning phase vary with growing stages.
- Metabolic profile