Special Issue "Management Strategies to Enhance Health, Welfare and Future Performance of Dairy Calves and Growing Animals"

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Cattle".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 May 2022 | Viewed by 2432

Special Issue Editors

Dr. David H. Grove-White
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Infection, Veterinary and Ecological Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool CH64 7TE, UK
Interests: calf health; epidemiology; lameness in sheep; food-borne pathogens
Dr. Joanne W.H. Oultram
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Infection, Veterinary and Ecological Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool CH64 7TE, UK
Interests: dairy cattle; mastitis; calf health

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The production of healthy, well grown and adapted replacement dairy heifers is key to sustainable milk production, irrespective of production system. Disease in the pre-weaning phase is perhaps the most widely recognised and visible constraint on calf welfare, as well as being a major driver of antimicrobial usage on dairy farms with implications for control of AMR. It is widely acknowledged that management practices, especially housing, are key determinants of disease, especially respiratory and enteric disease in calves, whilst nutritional status is being increasingly identified as not only key to achieving satisfactory growth results but may also impact future production and longevity. Technological developments, in terms of data collection and utilisation, in conjunction with novel diagnostics offer new tools to enhance calf health, productivity and welfare. However, it may be argued that the current high levels of morbidity and mortality have habituated many producers and their advisers into acceptance of the status quo. Thus, understanding human behaviours and motivating factors is key to facilitating behaviour change with respect to calf rearing. The aim of this Special Issue is to address all these aforementioned issues. Contributions are invited, including both original research papers and reviews (systematic and non-systematic). It is hoped that contributions dealing with the full spectrum of global dairying practices will be received, including small scale dairying in LMIC countries, in order to reflect the global nature of dairy cattle production.

Dr. David H. Grove-White
Dr. Joanne W.H. Oultram
Guest Editors

Keywords

  • calf disease
  • welfare
  • nutrition
  • epigenetics
  • management
  • housing
  • disease control
  • diagnostics
  • treatment
  • anti-microbial usage
  • behaviour change

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Article
Effects of Weaning Age on Plasma Biomarkers and Growth Performance in Simmental Calves
Animals 2022, 12(9), 1168; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12091168 - 02 May 2022
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Abstract
Weaning plays a key role in health status and future performance of calves. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of weaning age (Wa), early (45 d, EW) or conventional (60 d, CW), on growth performance and metabolic profile of [...] Read more.
Weaning plays a key role in health status and future performance of calves. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of weaning age (Wa), early (45 d, EW) or conventional (60 d, CW), on growth performance and metabolic profile of ten Simmental calves (5 EW and 5 CW calves). Daily intake of milk and calf starter was recorded. Blood samples and measurements of body weight (BW), heart girth (HG), and wither height (WH) were collected at −25, −15, 0, 6, and 20 days relative to weaning. Growth performances (BW, HG, WH) were affected by Wa, resulting lower in EW calves compared with CW calves (p < 0.05). Average daily gain was affected by overall Wa and Time but also by the interaction Wa × Time (p < 0.05). EW calves had lower paraoxonase and higher oxidation protein products levels, lower glucose levels in the post-weaning period, lower Ca and cholesterol levels at 20 d after weaning, and higher GGT activity at −25 d from weaning (p < 0.05). A significant interaction effect between Wa and Time was reached for glucose, Ca, cholesterol. In conclusion, weaning Simmental calves at approximately six weeks of age might not affect inflammatory status and liver functionality after weaning. As secondary outcome, even though the low number of animals could represent a limitation, the average daily gain obtained by Simmental calves weaned at 45 d supported this strategy (despite the lower body weight at weaning and after was due only to the age difference of 15 days). Hence, in order to reduce rearing costs, early weaning for Simmental calves (dual-purpose breed, milk and beef) might not jeopardize calf development, as long as calves can reach body gains as reported in the present study. Full article
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Article
The Combined Effect of IgG and Fe Supply and Feeding Management on Growth Rates of Calves on Eight Commercial Dairy Farms in Germany
Animals 2022, 12(7), 850; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12070850 - 28 Mar 2022
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Abstract
During the first days of a calf’s life, the foundations are laid for successful growth and thus also for the later performance of the cows. The aim of the present study was to analyze the impact on the weight gain of newborn calves [...] Read more.
During the first days of a calf’s life, the foundations are laid for successful growth and thus also for the later performance of the cows. The aim of the present study was to analyze the impact on the weight gain of newborn calves due to important management factors related to colostrum supply, iron supply, feeding regime and microbial load at first feeding. In spring 2017, information of 123 Holstein calves were analyzed with regard to the colostrum supply and management factors on eight commercial dairy farms located in Germany. Additionally, blood samples of newborn calves were analyzed for total immunoglobulin G (IgG) and serum iron content. Furthermore, Brix analysis and analysis of contamination by E. coli were performed on first colostrum samples from teats or buckets. Average daily weight gain of calves at days 14 and 50 was calculated. The colostrum IgG was estimated by Brix refractometer. The volume of initial colostrum supply and the time between birth and colostrum intake significantly (p < 0.05) influenced the serum IgG concentration. The serum IgG concentration, the serum iron concentration and the feeding regimen (restrictive or not restrictive feeding) had a significant effect (p < 0.05) on daily weight gains. In conclusion, this study shows that, in addition to a sufficient supply of immunoglobulins, other aspects, such as an adequate colostrum, iron and milk supply, play an essential role in calf growth rates. Full article
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Article
Maternal Impact on Serum Immunoglobulin and Total Protein Concentration in Dairy Calves
Animals 2022, 12(6), 755; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12060755 - 17 Mar 2022
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Abstract
For dairy calves, sufficient supply with high-quality maternal colostrum is crucial to achieve adequate passive transfer of immunoglobulins. This observational cross-sectional study aimed to determine the influence of the prepartum metabolic status of dams on the serum immunoglobulin and total protein concentrations of [...] Read more.
For dairy calves, sufficient supply with high-quality maternal colostrum is crucial to achieve adequate passive transfer of immunoglobulins. This observational cross-sectional study aimed to determine the influence of the prepartum metabolic status of dams on the serum immunoglobulin and total protein concentrations of their dairy calves, taking other relevant management factors into account. A total of 551 cows and their calves from 124 German dairy farms were included. Blood and urine samples of the cows were sampled 1 to 3 weeks before the expected calving date. Two generalized linear mixed effects regression models were fitted to the data. An increase in a dam’s prepartum serum non-esterified fatty acids concentration was associated with greater serum immunoglobulin concentration in her calf. Calves of herds with established birth monitoring at night showed greater serum immunoglobulin and total protein concentrations. Calves being fed more than 2 L of colostrum and higher Brix values for colostrum were related to greater serum immunoglobulin and total protein concentrations in calves. In conclusion, there is evidence that, besides timely and sufficient supply of high-quality colostrum to new-born calves, the prepartum metabolic status of cows and birth monitoring impact the passive transfer of immunoglobulins. Full article
Article
Effects of Bulk Tank Milk, Waste Milk, and Pasteurized Waste Milk on the Intake, Ruminal Parameters, Blood Parameters, Health, and Performance of Dairy Calves
Animals 2021, 11(12), 3552; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11123552 - 14 Dec 2021
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Abstract
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of bulk tank milk (BTM), WM, and PWM on the intake, ruminal parameters, blood parameters, health, and performance of dairy calves. Forty-five male crossbred dairy calves (Gyr × Holstein) were used. On their [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of bulk tank milk (BTM), WM, and PWM on the intake, ruminal parameters, blood parameters, health, and performance of dairy calves. Forty-five male crossbred dairy calves (Gyr × Holstein) were used. On their fourth day of age, animals were grouped according to body weight, serum protein levels, and genetic composition. Three treatments were assessed: BTM (n = 15), WM from cows in antibiotic treatment (n = 15), and PWM via high-temperature, short-time pasteurization (72–74 °C for 16 s) (n = 15). During the experimental period (from 4 to 60 d of age), animals were fed 6 L of milk/d, divided into two equal meals. Water and concentrate were provided ad libitum. Daily measurements were made for milk, concentrate, and water intakes, as well as for fecal and respiratory scores. Rumen fluid and blood were sampled weekly. The following parameters were evaluated: volatile fatty acids (VFAs), pH and ammonia-N in rumen fluid, and β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) and glucose in blood. Animals were weighed at birth, 4 d of age, and weekly up to 60 d of age. At the end of the experimental period (60 ± 1 d), all animals were euthanized for pulmonary evaluation. The randomized complete design with an interaction between treatment and week was the experimental method of choice for testing the hypothesis of the treatment’s effect on all evaluated outcomes. Animals in the BTM treatment had higher milk dry matter intake (DMI), followed by WM and PWM calves. Concentrate DMI was lower for BTM in comparison to WM and PWM calves. However, total DMI showed no significant differences between treatments. The rumen fluid from calves receiving PWM had higher concentrations of acetate and propionate than that of BTM and WM animals. No differences were observed between treatments for blood glucose and BHB concentrations. Health parameters (fecal and respiratory scores) and pneumonia occurrence showed no significant difference between treatments. No differences were observed for average daily gain (ADG) or body growth. Feeding WM and PWM did not show significant negative effects on the intake, ruminal parameters, blood parameters, health, or performance of dairy calves. Full article
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