Abstract Title

Determining Stress Response of Dairy Calves When Transported at Different Ages

Additional Funding Sources

The project described was supported by the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program through the U.S. Department of Education under Award No. P217A180181.

Abstract

In past research studies from the U.S., it has been shown that the age at which a dairy calf is transported could impact their long-term health. Transport-related stress can contribute to a higher susceptibility of digestive and respiratory disease and can reduce production performance into adulthood. However, past studies have relied solely on the measurement of blood cortisol, a stress hormone, to determine the effects of transportation. This can be an issue since cortisol does not fully characterize the impact of transport-related stress, especially in young calves as the cortisol response is still muted. Therefore, this study will not only focus on cortisol, but will also evaluate other measures like white and red blood cell counts, body weight, and heart and respiration rates. This will hopefully provide a better picture of how calves at different ages respond to transportation.

By determining the ideal age to transport calves, dairy farms can ensure the welfare of each calf in the facility. Therefore, we can develop better management strategies to not only improve animal welfare, but to help reduce deaths and the use of antibiotics to treat sickness caused by transported-related stress. This will help increase productivity and efficiency in the dairy industry, while increasing profitably and the overall success of a dairy operation.

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Determining Stress Response of Dairy Calves When Transported at Different Ages

In past research studies from the U.S., it has been shown that the age at which a dairy calf is transported could impact their long-term health. Transport-related stress can contribute to a higher susceptibility of digestive and respiratory disease and can reduce production performance into adulthood. However, past studies have relied solely on the measurement of blood cortisol, a stress hormone, to determine the effects of transportation. This can be an issue since cortisol does not fully characterize the impact of transport-related stress, especially in young calves as the cortisol response is still muted. Therefore, this study will not only focus on cortisol, but will also evaluate other measures like white and red blood cell counts, body weight, and heart and respiration rates. This will hopefully provide a better picture of how calves at different ages respond to transportation.

By determining the ideal age to transport calves, dairy farms can ensure the welfare of each calf in the facility. Therefore, we can develop better management strategies to not only improve animal welfare, but to help reduce deaths and the use of antibiotics to treat sickness caused by transported-related stress. This will help increase productivity and efficiency in the dairy industry, while increasing profitably and the overall success of a dairy operation.