Synthetic flavors are additives used in the animal feed industry to enhance the smell and taste of feeds. The sense of taste in dairy cattle is well developed. They can recognize the five basic tastes of sweet, bitter, salty, sour, and umami. Therefore, identifying flavor preferences of dairy calves may help to stimulate and improve the consumption of calf starter.
Calf starter intake is essential in calf feeding programs. A meta-analysis carried out by Pennsylvania State University’s researchers reported that for each additional 100g/day of calf starter intake in the preweaning period, first-lactating cows produced 127.0 kg more milk, 8.4 kg more milk fat, and 4.0 kg more milk protein.