• Calf health from birth to weaning. I. General aspects of disease prevention

      Lorenz, Ingrid; Mee, John F; Earley, Bernadette; More, Simon J (Biomed Central, 2011-09-16)
      Calfhood diseases have a major impact on the economic viability of cattle operations. This is the first in a three part review series on calf health from birth to weaning, focusing on preventive measures. The review considers both pre- and periparturient management factors influencing calf health, colostrum management in beef and dairy calves and further nutrition and weaning in dairy calves.
    • Calf health from birth to weaning. III. Housing and management of calf pneumonia

      Lorenz, Ingrid; Earley, Bernadette; Gilmore, John; Hogan, Ian; Kennedy, Emer; More, Simon J (Biomed Central, 2011-10-21)
      Calfhood diseases have a major impact on the economic viability of cattle operations. A three part review series has been developed focusing on calf health from birth to weaning. In this paper, the last of the three part series, we review disease prevention and management with particular reference to pneumonia, focusing primarily on the pre-weaned calf. Pneumonia in recently weaned suckler calves is also considered, where the key risk factors are related to the time of weaning. Weaning of the suckler calf is often combined with additional stressors including a change in nutrition, environmental change, transport and painful husbandry procedures (castration, dehorning). The reduction of the cumulative effects of these multiple stressors around the time of weaning together with vaccination programmes (preconditioning) can reduce subsequent morbidity and mortality in the feedlot. In most studies, calves housed individually and calves housed outdoors with shelter, are associated with decreased risk of disease. Even though it poses greater management challenges, successful group housing of calves is possible. Special emphasis should be given to equal age groups and to keeping groups stable once they are formed. The management of pneumonia in calves is reliant on a sound understanding of aetiology, relevant risk factors, and of effective approaches to diagnosis and treatment. Early signs of pneumonia include increased respiratory rate and fever, followed by depression. The single most important factor determining the success of therapy in calves with pneumonia is early onset of treatment, and subsequent adequate duration of treatment. The efficacy and economical viability of vaccination against respiratory disease in calves remains unclear.
    • Effects of Different Rearing Methods on Health Status, Immunity and Performance of Artificially Reared Calves

      Earley, Bernadette (Biomed Central, 2003-03-31)
      Morbidity and mortality of the young calf represent a major cause of economic concern for producers [1]. The objective of the study was to evaluate the performance and immune status of calves reared in the presence or absence of quartz linear heating lamps (CD 3000) and fed calf milk replacer either by bucket or by teat. Mart-purchased Holstein/Friesian calves were approximately 21 days of age at arrival at the research centre. The calves were allocated randomly to one of the following four treatments (n = 16 calves per treatment) using a 2 × 2 factorial design; 1). Teat fed + quartz linear lamp (QLL) (2). Bucket fed + QLL; 3). Teat fed + no QLL and 4). Bucket fed + no QLL. For the 42-day experimental period, 8 groups of 8 calves were penned (2.4 × 10.0 m) on straw in a naturally ventilated Monopitch calf house. A quartz linear heating lamp (3 k output) was positioned in the centre of the individual sheds, 10 feet above the floor of the straw bedded pens for these on QLL treatments, and remained switched on for the duration of the study. The calves received an individual allowance of 25 kg of milk replacer powder offered warm (38°C) by bucket and had ad libitum access to a concentrate ration. Individual disease episodes were determined by the requirement to treat with antibiotics for either enteric disease or respiratory disease. Serum immunoglobulins (IgG1) were measured quantitatively by single radial immunodiffusion standard and calculated via an internal Ig standard (100 mg/L) on days 1, 14 and 28 of the study. Haematological parameters were measured on days 1, 14 and 42 of the study and included red blood cell number, haemoglobin, packed cell volume, mean cell volume and total white cell counts. The data were analysed using a model appropriate to factorial design, with terms for QLL and teat in the main plot. The average temperature and relative humidity of the shed compartments with and without the QLL heating lamps were recorded continuously and were 11.3°C and 81% and 10.5°C and 86%, respectively. There was no significant difference (P > 0.05) between treatments with respect to liveweight gain from day of arrival (day 1) to day 42 of the study. There was no significant interaction between QLL, no QLL, teat fed and bucket fed treatments with respect to serum IgG1 concentrations and haematological parameters throughout the study period (P > 0.05). The incidence of respiratory disease and enteric disease was similar across the treatment groups (P > 0.05). It is concluded that the rearing of calves indoors, in the presence of quartz linear heating lamps, and either fed calf milk replacer by teat or bucket had no beneficial effect on calf health and performance when compared with calves reared in a natural ventilated environment.
    • Rearing calves outdoors with and without calf jackets compared with indoor housing on calf health and live-weight performance

      Earley, Bernadette; Murray, Margaret; Farrell, J.A.; Nolan, Marie-Jean; National Development Plan, 2000-2006 (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2004)
      The objective of this study was to compare the effects of rearing calves outdoors, with and without all-weather calf jackets, with calves reared indoors on calf immunity and animal performance. In February 1999, male Holstein calves (mean (s.e.) weight 55 (1.90) kg) were randomly assigned to one of three treatments (n=30 per treatment): 1) outdoors with jacket, (J; mean age 19 (s.e. 2.0) days); 2) outdoors without jacket (NJ; mean age 19 (s.e. 1.8) days), and 3) indoors on straw (I; mean age 19 (s.e. 1.0) days). Calves received an individual allowance of 25 kg of milk replacer dry matter during the first 42 days with ad libitum access to a concentrate ration from day 0 to 63. The jackets were removed from the calves on day 42. Live-weight gain from day 0 to day 63 of the study was not significantly different between treatments (J, 0.79; NJ, 0.80; I, 0.80 kg). Sixty percent of the J calves and 53% of the NJ calves required four or more antibiotic treatments for respiratory disease while corresponding treatments were required for 97% of the I calves. The incidence of diarrhoea was significantly higher in both outdoor treatments compared to the I treatment. There was no significant difference in white blood cell counts or in serum immunoglobulin concentrations between treatments on days 0, 21, 42 and 63 or in in vitro interferon-γ production on day 63. It is concluded that using calf jackets on calves reared outdoors had no beneficial effect on calf performance or immune status. The incidence of respiratory disease was higher and diarrhoea incidence was lower in calves reared indoors compared with calves reared outdoors. There was no significant difference in incidences of diarrhoea and respiratory disease between the two outdoor treatments.