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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Growth, health, and select immunologic and metabolic functions of preruminant calves housed in warm and cold environments

item Nonnecke, Brian
item Horst, Ronald
item Foote, Monica
item Miller, B
item Johnson, T
item Fowler, M

Submitted to: American Dairy Science Association Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/23/2007
Publication Date: 7/8/2007
Citation: Nonnecke, B.J., Horst, R.L., Foote, M.R., Miller, B.L., Johnson, T.E., Fowler, M. 2007. Growth, health, and select immunologic and metabolic functions of preruminant calves housed in warm and cold environments [abstract]. 2007 Joint Meeting-American Dairy Science Association, Poultry Science Association, Asociacion Mexicana de Produccion Animal, American Society of Animal Sciences. p. 467.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The physiological response of the preruminant calf to cold-stress has not been studied extensively. This study examined effects of sustained environmental cold on growth performance and health of preruminant calves. Functional measures of energy metabolism, fat-soluble vitamin and mineral status, and immune competency were also evaluated. Holstein calves, 3 to 10 days of age, were assigned randomly to warm or cold environments and kept in these environments for 7 weeks. Cold environment calves (n = 15) were exposed to temperatures maintained as close to 2 deg C as possible. Frequent wetting of the environment and calves was used to augment effects of the cold environment. Warm environment calves (n = 14) were maintained as close to 15 deg C as possible. Warm environment humidity was not manipulated. Preventative medications or vaccinations that might influence disease resistance were not administered. Non-medicated MR (20% CP and 20% fat fed at .45 kg/d) and calf starter (ad libitum) were fed to all calves. During the 7-week period, cold environment temperatures averaged almost 20 deg C lower (P < .05) than warm environment temperatures. Relative humidity averaged 10% higher (P < .05) in cold environment. Growth rate was unaffected (P > .05) by environmental temperature; however, cold environment calves consumed more (P < .05) starter at weeks 5, 6, and 7. Blood glucose concentrations were lower (P < .05) and NEFA concentrations were higher (P < .05) in cold environment calves, indicative a state of mild negative energy balance. Health of calves in both environments was comparable. Serum tumor necrosis factor, interferon, and fat-soluble vitamin concentrations as well as antibody responses induced by vaccination were not affected (P > .05) by sustained exposure to cold. These results suggest that the effects of environmental cold on the growth and health of a young calf are negligible when sufficient nutrition is provided.

Last Modified: 10/16/2017
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