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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/11019/65

Title: Effect of post-weaning management practices on physiological and immunological responses of weaned beef calves
Authors: Lynch, Eilish M
McGee, Mark
Doyle, Sean
Earley, Bernadette
Keywords: Biomarkers
Cattle
Physiology
Stress
Weaning
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland
Citation: Effect of post-weaning management practices on physiological and immunological responses of weaned beef calves. E.M. Lynch, M. McGee, S. Doyle and B. Earley. Irish Journal of Agricultural and Food REsearch, Vol 50, No. 2 (2011), pp. 161-174
Series/Report no.: Irish Journal of Agricultural and Food Research;Volume 50: Number 2, 2011
Abstract: The objectives were: i) to investigate the physiological and immunological responses of previously grazed, abruptly weaned beef calves that were then either housed (H) and offered a diet of grass silage ad libitum plus concentrate or returned to familiar pasture (P) (Phase I), and ii) to examine the effect of subsequent housing (35 days post-weaning) on these responses in P calves compared with the H calves, which were acclimated to housing (Phase II). Rectal temperature was recorded and jugular blood was collected on days 0 (weaning), 2, 7, 14, 21, 28 and 35 (Phase I) and on days 0 (housing of P), 2, 7, 14, and 21 (Phase II). There was a treatment × sampling time interaction (P<0.05) for rectal temperature, fibrinogen concentration, total leukocyte and lymphocyte number, and phytohaemagglutinin-induced interferon-γ production during Phase I, with H calves having higher (P<0.05) rectal temperature and fibrinogen concentrations on day 7, lower total leukocyte and lymphocyte number on days 7 to 35 and days 2 to 28, respectively, and reduced interferon-γ production on day 7 compared with P calves. Neutrophilia (P<0.05) was present in P calves on days 2 and 7 post-weaning. In Phase II, total leukocyte and neutrophil numbers increased (P<0.05), whereas lymphocyte number declined on day 2 relative to values on day 0 of Phase II. In conclusion, deferring housing at the time of weaning resulted in a less marked stress response in beef calves compared with the traditional combined practice of weaning and simultaneous housing, however these changes were minimal suggesting that the overall health and welfare of beef calves was not compromised by abrupt weaning and simultaneous housing.
Description: peer-reviewed
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/11019/65
ISSN: 0791-6833
Appears in Collections:IJAFR, Volume 50, no. 2, 2011
Animal & Bioscience
Livestock Systems

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