Interpretive Summary: Calf rumen microbiome from birth to weaning and shared microbial properties to the maternal rumen microbiome
Developmental programming has highlighted important influences of maternal factors on offspring development. Recent research indicates a programming potential of the rumen microbiome and understanding this role as well as how inoculation occurs may allow beef producers to optimize management practices of gestating cows such that offspring performance is improved via the rumen microbiome. To investigate this, rumen fluid samples were collected from mature cows immediately prior to calving, from their calf immediately after calving with a meconium sample, day 2, and day 28 as well as collected from both dam and calf at weaning. The rumen and meconium microbiome of the newborn calf were similar to each other as well as to the cow rumen microbiome at weaning, although not to the cow rumen microbiome immediately prior to calving. The shared microbiome of the early calf gut highlight a common source of inoculation. The similarities with the cow rumen at weaning could indicate initiation of colonization occurs early in gestation. Results indicate there are shared microbial properties between the cow and calf rumen microbiome. This further supports the opportunity to alter the calf rumen microbiome to improve productivity through the management of the cow during gestation.
Read the full article in the Journal of Animal Science.