Animals2015, 5(4), 1192-1206; doi:10.3390/ani5040406 (registering DOI) - published 27 November 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Numerous studies have demonstrated influences of hybrid, feed, and housing on prevalence of keel bone fractures, but influences of behavior and production on an individual level are less known. In this longitudinal study, 80 white and brown laying hens were regularly checked for keel bone deviations and fractures while egg production was individually monitored using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) from production until depopulation at 65 weeks of age. These focal birds were kept in eight pens with 20 hens per pen in total. About 62% of the hens had broken keel bones at depopulation. The occurrence of new fractures was temporally linked to egg laying: more new fractures occurred during the time when laying rates were highest. Hens with fractured keel bones at depopulation had laid their first egg earlier than hens with intact keel bones. However, the total number of eggs was neither correlated with the onset of egg laying nor with keel bone fractures. All birds with bumblefoot on both feet had a fracture at depopulation. Hens stayed in the nest for a longer time during egg laying during the ten days after the fracture than during the ten days before the fracture. In conclusion, a relationship between laying rates and keel bone fractures seems likely.
Animals2015, 5(4), 1180-1191; doi:10.3390/ani5040405 - published 25 November 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Forty crossbred (Large White × Landrace × Duroc) female pigs (16.4 kg ± 0.94 kg) were used to investigate the effect of dietary lecithin supplementation on growth performance and pork quality. Pigs were randomly allocated to a commercial diet containing either 0, 3, 15 or 75 g lecithin/kg of feed during the grower and finisher growth phase. Pork from pigs consuming the diets containing 15 g and 75 g lecithin/kg had lower hardness ( P < 0.001) and chewiness ( P < 0.01) values compared to the controls. Dietary lecithin supplementation at 75 g/kg significantly increased ( P < 0.05) the linoleic acid and reduced ( P < 0.05) the myristic acid levels of pork compared to the control and the 3 g/kg and 15 g/kg lecithin supplemented treatments. Pigs fed the 75 g/kg lecithin supplemented diet had lower plasma cholesterol ( P < 0.05) at slaughter compared to pigs fed the control diet and the 3 g/kg and 15 g/kg lecithin supplemented treatments. These data indicate that dietary lecithin supplementation has the potential to improve the quality attributes of pork from female pigs.
Animals2015, 5(4), 1169-1179; doi:10.3390/ani5040404 - published 24 November 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Housing affects social behaviors, such as competition, but little work has addressed affiliative behaviors. This study compared social licking (SL) in pregnant heifers housed indoors (in a free-stall barn) versus outdoors (on pasture), and relationships with competition, feeding and physical proximity to others. Six heifer groups were observed during two six-hour-periods in both treatments. The total number of social events (SL and agonistic interactions) was four times higher when heifers were housed indoors compared to pasture (546 ± 43 vs. 128 ± 7 events/group; P < 0.05). SL as a ratio of the total number of social events was similar in the two treatments (12% vs . 8% of interactions, free-stall and pasture, respectively; P > 0.05). Housing did not affect how the SL bout was initiated and terminated, the duration, the body part licked and behavior preceding licking ( P > 0.05). Animals in close proximity showed higher rates of SL ( P < 0.0001) but not agonistic interactions ( P > 0.05). A previous agonistic event did not predict occurrence or the role of heifers in the following licking event. The higher stocking density indoors likely resulted in increased social interactions.
Animals2015, 5(4), 1147-1168; doi:10.3390/ani5040403 - published 23 November 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The effects of feeding a diet supplemented with zinc oxide (ZnO) or a blend of organic acids, cinnamaldehyde and a permeabilizing complex (OACP) on post-weaning diarrhoea (PWD) and performance in pigs infected with enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC) were examined. Additionally, changes in selected bacterial populations and blood measures were assessed. A total of 72 pigs weaned at 22 d of age and weighing 7.2 ± 1.02 kg (mean ± SEM) was used. Treatments were: base diet (no antimicrobial compounds); base diet + 3 g ZnO/kg; base diet + 1.5 g OACP/kg. Dietary treatments started on the day of weaning and were fed ad libitum for 3 weeks. All pigs were infected with an F4 ETEC on d 4, 5 and 6 after weaning. The incidence of PWD was lower in pigs fed ZnO ( p = 0.026). Overall, pigs fed ZnO grew faster ( p = 0.013) and ate more ( p = 0.004) than the base diet-fed pigs, with OACP-fed pigs performing the same ( p > 0.05) as both the ZnO- and base diet-fed pigs. Feed conversion ratio was similar for all diets ( p > 0.05). The percentage of E. coli with F4 fimbriae was affected a day by treatment interaction ( p = 0.037), with more E. coli with F4 fimbriae found in pigs fed ZnO on d 11 ( p = 0.011) compared to base diet-fed pigs. Only significant time effects ( p < 0.05) occurred for blood measures. Under the conditions of this study, inclusion of OACP gave statistically similar production responses to pigs fed ZnO, however pigs fed ZnO had less PWD compared to OACP- and the base diet-fed pigs.
Animals2015, 5(4), 1136-1146; doi:10.3390/ani5040402 - published 12 November 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Managing a horse stable involves risks, which can have serious consequences for the stable, employees, clients, visitors and horses. Existing industrial or farm production risk management tools are not directly applicable to horse stables and they need to be adapted for use by managers of different types of stables. As a part of the InnoEquine project, an innovative web tool, InnoHorse, was developed to support horse stable managers in business, safety, pasture and manure management. A literature review, empirical horse stable case studies, expert panel workshops and stakeholder interviews were carried out to support the design. The InnoHorse web tool includes a safety section containing a horse stable safety map, stable safety checklists, and examples of good practices in stable safety, horse handling and rescue planning. This new horse stable safety management tool can also help in organizing work processes in horse stables in general.
Animals2015, 5(4), 1114-1135; doi:10.3390/ani5040400 - published 11 November 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Globally; digital dermatitis is a leading form of lameness observed in production dairy cattle. While the precise etiology remains to be determined; the disease is clearly associated with infection by numerous species of treponemes; in addition to other anaerobic bacteria. The goal of this review article is to provide an overview of the current literature; focusing on discussion of the polybacterial nature of the digital dermatitis disease complex and host immune response. Several phylotypes of treponemes have been identified; some of which correlate with location in the lesion and some with stages of lesion development. Local innate immune responses may contribute to the proliferative, inflammatory conditions that perpetuate digital dermatitis lesions. While serum antibody is produced to bacterial antigens in the lesions, little is known about cellular-based immunity. Studies are still required to delineate the pathogenic traits of treponemes associated with digital dermatitis; and other host factors that mediate pathology and protection of digital dermatitis lesions.