AN EVALUATION OF THE IMPACT OF MANAGEMENT PRACTICE ON THE HEALTH AND WELFARE OF DAIRY HEIFER CALVES

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AN EVALUATION OF THE IMPACT OF MANAGEMENT PRACTICE ON THE HEALTH AND WELFARE OF DAIRY HEIFER CALVES

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Title: AN EVALUATION OF THE IMPACT OF MANAGEMENT PRACTICE ON THE HEALTH AND WELFARE OF DAIRY HEIFER CALVES
Author: Stanton, Amy Leanne
Department: Population Medicine
Program: Population Medicine
Advisor: Kelton, David F.Millman, Suzanne T.
Abstract: The objectives of this thesis were to investigate 1) the use of behavior and activity monitoring for the identification of heifers at risk of disease, 2) the use of group level management practices to reduce the risk of disease, and 3) the identification of long-term impacts of bovine respiratory disease complex (BRD). For objective 1, lying posture, a decreased willingness to approach an observer and high lethargy scores were associated with diarrhea in calves under 2 weeks of age and a high lethargy score in 4-6 week old calves was associated with decreased average daily gain (ADG) in the first 8 weeks of life (n = 744). In weaned calves (n = 74) increased activity (increase in steps and decrease in lying), standing at the bunk not eating, and lying far from other calves in the first 3 days post-weaning were associated with decreased post-weaning weight gain. For objective 2, separating social mixing from movement to a novel environment, and administering prophylactic antibiotics to calves at high risk of disease, were investigated. Both mixing and movement to a novel environment increased activity levels in newly weaned dairy calves (n = 64). When calves were mixed prior to movement to a novel environment they had a smaller increase in activity compared to calves that were simultaneously mixed and moved. No differences in weight gain or calf starter intake were observed. Administration of a prophylactic antibiotic, tulathromycin, to 3 day old calves upon arrival at a heifer raising facility (n = 788) and 8 week old calves at first movement to group housing (n = 1,392 ) was found to reduce diarrhea and otitis media, and BRD, respectively. Objective 3 was addressed by monitoring calves that received tulathromycin at 8 weeks of age to determine the long-term impacts of BRD. Bovine Respiratory Disease complex was associated with decreased growth to 9 months of age, decreased survival to first calving, increased risk of dystocia and a greater age at first calving.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/2856
Date: 2011-08-24


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