The supplementation of conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) to the rations of dairy cows represents an opportunity to reduce the content of milk fat. Therefore, CLA have the potential beneficial effect of reducing energy requirements of the early lactating cow. The present study aimed at the examination of long-term and posttreatment effects of dietary CLA intake on performance, variables of energy metabolism-like plasma levels of non esterified fatty acids (NEFA) and beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), and fatty acid profile in milk fat. Forty-six pregnant German Holstein cows were assigned to one of three dietary treatments: (1) 100 g/ d of control fat supplement (CON), (2) 50 g/d of control fat supplement and 50 g/ d of CLA supplement (CLA-1) and (3) 100 g/d of CLA supplement (CLA-2). The lipid-encapsulated CLA supplement consisted of approximately 10% of trans-10, cis-12 CLA and cis-9, trans-11 CLA each. The experiment started 1 d after calving and continued for about 38 weeks, divided into a supplementation (26 weeks) and a depletion period (12 weeks). Over the first 7 weeks of treatment, 11 and 16% reductions in dry matter intake compared to control were observed for the cows fed CLA-1 and CLA-2 supplements respectively. Consequently, the calculated energy balance for these two CLA groups was lower compared to the control. Plasma levels of NEFA and BHB remained unaffected. Later in lactation the highest CLA supplementation resulted in a reduction of milk fat content of 0.7%. However, no reduction in milk fat yield, and accordingly no milk fat depression (MFD), could be shown. The trans-10, cis-12 CLA in milk fat increased with increasing dietary CLA supplementation in a dose-dependent manner. The proportion of C16 in milk fat was decreased by the highest CLA supplementation. With the exception of an increase in plasma glucose level in the CLA-2 group, no post-treatment effects were observed. Overall, under the conditions of the present study no improvement in the calculated energy balance by CLA supplementation could be shown for the entire evaluation period.