Date of Award

5-2014

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Animal Science

Major Professor

Peter D. Krawczel

Committee Members

Gina Pighetti, Rebecca Trout-Fryxell

Abstract

The first objective of this study was to determine the effect of bedding on the welfare of Holstein and Jersey calves housed using individual hutches bedded with gravel, rubber mats, or sand. A second objective was to determine the effects of stable and house fly populations on calf welfare. Bedding quality and fly management are aspects of improving animal welfare on dairy farms. It was hypothesized that sand or mat would increase lying time and decrease lying bouts, but not affect BW gain or feed intake in calves indicating that these bedding surfaces increased calf welfare. It was hypothesized that as stable and house fly populations increased calf lying time and BW gain would decrease and plasma cortisol concentrations would increase. Twenty-three Holstein calves and 38 Jersey calves were assigned to 1 of 3 bedding treatments (gravel, rubber mat, or sand). Lying time and lying bouts were assessed with dataloggers. Biological function was determined by weight gain and grain intake. Plasma cortisol levels were determined using a commercial RIA kit. Data on the effect of bedding were analyzed using a mixed model in SAS with repeated measures. There was an effect of breed for all response variables so the two breeds were analyzed separately. Data indicated that there were no differences in overall calf welfare among bedding treatments. For the final analysis of the effect of stable and house fly populations on calf welfare 11 Holstein and 19 Jersey calves born between from September 2012 to October 2012 were utilized. Fly populations were monitored using alsynite traps. Data on the effect of stable and house flies on lying time, BW gain, and plasma cortisol levels were analyzed using linear regression in SAS. Data indicate that as stable and house fly populations increased welfare of calves decreased.

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Dairy Science Commons

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