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  • Author or Editor: Matthew L. Sween x
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To determine whether parenteral administration of selenium (Se) to calves and the amount of forage and protein provided to their dams affects unadjusted body weight, adjusted 205-day body weight, and average daily gain (ADG) of suckling beef calves.


Randomized controlled field trial.


151 Hereford-Angus crossbred beef calves.


Newborn calves, randomly assigned to 1 of 3 groups, served as untreated controls (n = 49) or were given Se (0.05 mg/kg [0.023 mg/lb] of body weight, SC) once within 2 days of birth (55) or within 2 days of birth and on days 70, 114, and 149 (47). Until day 149, cow-calf pairs were pastured in fields in which the amount of available forage was high or low and supplemental protein was or was not provided. Calves were weighed on days 1, 70, 149, and 209. On days 160 and 209, blood was obtained from 33 calves for measurements of Se concentration.


Mean consumption of supplemental protein was 0.65 kg/dam/d. Between days 1 and 70, calves that received the first of 4 multiple injections of Se had significantly greater ADG than control calves. Average daily gain for calves given only 1 injection was not significantly different from controls. Between days 70 and 149, ADG of calves increased with dietary supplementation of protein to their dams.

Clinical Implications

Strategic administration of Se to calves and dietary supplementation of protein to their dams may result in greater ADG in suckling beef calves during specific time intervals. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1999;214:816–821)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association