Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/1/2010
Publication Date: 3/15/2010
Citation: Pezzanite, L.M., Dennis, T.S., Schroer, R.C., Schutz, M.M., Eicher, S.D., Nennich, T.D. 2010. Effects of Increased Hutch Ventilation on Dairy Calf Performance. Journal of Animal Science. 93(Midwest):6. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Heat stress can negatively affect the performance of dairy calves. Simple management strategies, such as increased ventilation of calf hutches, may assist with alleviating heat stress in dairy calves. The objective of this study was to determine if raising the back of calf hutches to increase ventilation during summer months had an effect on dairy calf performance. Thirty Holstein heifer calves (BW = 42.2 ± 16.0 kg) were moved to calf hutches with outside pens 2 to 3 d after birth and reared according to the protocols of the Purdue Dairy Research and Education Center. Hutches were bedded with wood shavings. Calves had ad libitum access to calf starter and water and received 2 L of milk replacer twice/d. Calves were blocked in groups of two and randomly assigned to one of two treatments: DOWN, with the back of the hutch on the ground, or UP, with the back of the hutch raised 20 cm. Upon assignment to treatment, calves were measured at 0800 h to determine BW, hip height (HH), wither height (WH), heart girth circumference, and rectal body temperature (TEMP). Measurements were repeated at 2, 4, and 6 wk after assignment to treatment. Respiration rate (RESP) and TEMP were determined twice/wk at 1400 h. Data were analyzed as repeated records using mixed models. Calves on treatments had similar (P > 0.10) ADG, HH gains, and WH gains (0.46 kg/d, 0.19 cm/d and 0.17 cm/d, respectively). Similarly, heart girth circumference and morning TEMP did not differ between treatments. Afternoon air temperatures during the study averaged 25.2°C and ranged from 16.1 to 30.0°C. Respiration rates (65.7 breaths/min) and afternoon TEMP (38.9°C) were similar (P > 0.10) between treatments. Raising the back of calf hutches to increase ventilation did not improve calf performance in mild summer temperatures.