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Risk Factors for Dystocia and Perinatal Mortality in Extensively Kept Angus Suckler Cows in Germany

1
Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and Landscape Architecture, University of Applied Sciences Osnabrueck, Am Kruempel 31, D-49090 Osnabrueck, Germany
2
Institute for Animal Hygiene, Animal Welfare and Farm Animal Behavior, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Foundation, Bischofsholer Damm 15, D-30173 Hannover, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Agriculture 2019, 9(4), 85; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9040085
Received: 5 March 2019 / Revised: 22 April 2019 / Accepted: 24 April 2019 / Published: 25 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Farm Animal Welfare)
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Abstract

Dystocia and perinatal mortality are major animal health, welfare and economic issues in beef suckler cow production. The objective of this study was to identify risk factors for dystocia and perinatal mortality and to analyze the relationships of both traits to external pelvic parameters in extensively kept beef suckler cows. Calving ease and calf survival were recorded for 785 births on five Angus cattle farms in Germany. The prevalence of dystocia and perinatal mortality was 3.4% and 4.3%, respectively. A hierarchical model was used to predict dystocia and perinatal mortality. First-parity dams had a higher probability of dystocia (p < 0.0001) than later-parity ones. Increasing birth weight was associated with an increasing risk for dystocia (p < 0.05). The probability of perinatal mortality (p < 0.0001) was higher in assisted births than in unassisted births. Calves from first-parity dams had a higher risk (p < 0.01) of being stillborn than calves from dams in later parities. An increase in the length of the pelvis was associated with an increase in odds for perinatal mortality (p < 0.001). In conclusion, the study indicates that dystocia and perinatal mortality are mainly problems in first-parity suckler cows. Concerning the predictive value of external pelvic parameters, further research is necessary. View Full-Text
Keywords: dystocia; perinatal mortality; stillbirth; beef cattle; suckler cows; Angus; pelvic measurements dystocia; perinatal mortality; stillbirth; beef cattle; suckler cows; Angus; pelvic measurements
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Hohnholz, T.; Volkmann, N.; Gillandt, K.; Waßmuth, R.; Kemper, N. Risk Factors for Dystocia and Perinatal Mortality in Extensively Kept Angus Suckler Cows in Germany. Agriculture 2019, 9, 85.

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