Skip to main content
ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Animal Disease Center » Ruminant Diseases and Immunology Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #222136

Title: Effects of environmental cold on the preruminant calf

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

Submitted to: Electronic Publication
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/18/2008
Publication Date: 1/31/2008
Citation: Nonnecke, B.J., Foote, M.R., Horst, R.L., Miller, B.L., Johnson, T.E., Fowler, M. 2008. Effects of environmental cold on the preruminant calf. Iowa State University Animal Industry Report 2008. A.S. Leaflet R2297. Available:

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Infectious diseases of calves cause significant economic losses to the U.S. dairy cattle industry. The mortality rate for pre-weaned dairy calves is approximately 8% to 11% and the morbidity rate is approximately 37%. Management factors influence the growth performance and health of dairy calves. In the northern United States, calves born in the late winter and early spring frequently experience sustained periods of cold during the first weeks of life. This study examined the effects of sustained cold exposure on growth performance, health, and select metabolic and immunologic variables in preruminant Holstein calves. Results indicate that cold-stressed calves provided adequate nutrition demonstrate a remarkable degree of adaptability to cold. Growth rates of calves exposed to cold were comparable to those of warm environment calves, a likely consequence of their increased intake of starter grain. With the exception of a modest increase in respiratory scores, health of cold-stressed calves was comparable to that of calves raised in a thermo-neutral environment.