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    Effect of post-weaning management practices on physiological and immunological responses of weaned beef calves

    Lynch, E.M. and McGee, M. and Doyle, Sean and Earley, B. (2011) Effect of post-weaning management practices on physiological and immunological responses of weaned beef calves. Irish Journal of Agricultural and Food Research, 50 (2). pp. 161-174. ISSN 07916833

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    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 X sampling time interaction (P<0.05) for rectal temperature, fibrinogen concentration, total leukocyte and lymphocyte number, and phytohaemagglutinin-induced interferon-y production during Phase I, with H calves having higher (P<0.05) rectal temperature and fibrino- gen concentrations on day 7, lower total leukocyte and lymphocyte number on days 7 to 35 and days 2 to 28, respectively, and reduced interferon-y 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.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: biomarkers; cattle; physiology; stress; weaning;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Science and Engineering > Biology
    Item ID: 7391
    Depositing User: Dr. Sean Doyle
    Date Deposited: 26 Aug 2016 14:47
    Journal or Publication Title: Irish Journal of Agricultural and Food Research
    Publisher: Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority)
    Refereed: Yes
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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