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Title: Effects of two-stage and total vs. fence-line weaning on the physiology and performance of beef calves

item Campistol, C - University Of Tennessee
item Kattesh, H - University Of Tennessee
item Waller, J - University Of Tennessee
item Rawls, E - University Of Tennessee
item Arthington, J - University Of Florida
item Engle, T - Colorado State University
item Carroll, Jeffery - Jeff Carroll

Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science Supplement
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/11/2010
Publication Date: 10/11/2010
Citation: Campistol, C., Kattesh, H.G., Waller, J.C., Rawls, E.L., Arthington, J.D., Engle, T.E., Carroll, J.A. 2010. Effects of two-stage and total vs. fence-line weaning on the physiology and performance of beef calves [abstract]. 2010 American Society of Animal Science Meeting, Jul 11-15, 2010, Denver, CO. Journal of Animal Science. 88(E-Supplement 2):M281.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Calves weaned using a two-stage method where nursing is prevented between cow-calf pairs prior to separation (Stage 1) experience less weaning stress after separation (Stage 2) based on behavior and growth measures. The aim of this study was to document changes in various physiological measures of stress in calves weaned using the two-stage with total separation or temporary fence-line contact. Steer calves (n = 48; 314.1 ± 20.5 kg), housed on pasture with their dams, were blocked by initial BW and assigned randomly during Stage 1 to be fitted with a nose-flap weaning device (YD) or no device (ND) for 7 d preweaning. During Stage 2, calves (12 YD and 12 ND/group) were weaned by fence-line (Group 1) or total separation to a distant pasture (Group 2). After 7 d, Group 1 calves were moved to a pasture lot adjoining Group 2. Calves were weighed and bled on d -7, 0, 3, 7 (d of weaning), 10, 14, 21, and 42, and injected with ovalbumin on d 0. Blood was analyzed for total cortisol, IgG to ovalbumin, interferon-gamma (IFN), haptoglobin (HAP), ceruloplasmin (CER), hematocrit (Hct), and neutrophil:lymphocyte ratio (N:L). Weight gain was similar (P = 0.74) among steers regardless of Stage 1 treatment. The YD calves had higher (P < 0.05) Hct than ND calves during Stage 1. Weight gain was greater (P < 0.01) in Group 1 versus Group 2 on d 14-42. Ovalbumin-specific IgG increased (P < 0.01) in all calves by d 10 unrelated to Stage. Both HAP and CER increased (P < 0.01) by d 3 in response to ovalbumin. Between d 7 and 10, CER, IFN, and N:L increased (P < 0.05) in ND but not YD calves. In conclusion, two-stage weaning may improve calf well-being when fence-line separation is employed.