Skip to main content
×
Home

Effect of age at weaning on the physiological stress response and temperament of two beef cattle breeds

  • M. Blanco (a1), I. Casasús (a1) and J. Palacio (a2)
Abstract

The study was conducted to evaluate the effect of age at weaning and breed on the stress response of calves to weaning and their temperament. At calving, 14 Parda de Montaña calves and 14 Pirenaica calves were randomly assigned to either early weaning (at 90 days) or traditional weaning (at 150 days) treatment. During nursing, calves were allowed to suckle their dams twice a day for 30 min. After weaning, calves were placed in an adjacent barn without access to their dams, where they remained for 7 days. On day 8 after weaning, they were transported to a feedlot where they received an intensive diet. Blood samples were taken 168 h before weaning (baseline) and 6, 24, 48 and 168 h after weaning for cortisol, fibrinogen and haematology analyses, and temperament was measured 90 and 180 days after weaning with the flight speed test. Cortisol concentration increased after weaning, irrespective of age at weaning. Early-weaned calves had a lower fibrinogen baseline and a greater increase in fibrinogen concentrations 48 h after weaning than traditionally weaned calves. Moreover, fibrinogen concentration returned to baseline values 168 h after weaning in traditionally weaned calves, whereas it remained high in early-weaned calves. Concerning breed effects, Pirenaica calves had higher cortisol concentration and fibrinogen increments after weaning than Parda de Montaña calves. Slight alterations occurred after weaning in haematology, but all parameters returned to baseline values 168 h after weaning, with no significant effects of age at weaning or breed. Despite the absence of clinical signs, early-weaned calves of both breeds suffered marginal anaemia, according to haemoglobin values. Regardless of age at weaning, Pirenaica calves had greater reactivity to human presence than Parda de Montaña calves, according to their higher flight speed values measured. Finally, early-weaned calves were lighter than traditionally weaned calves at weaning, but had similar weight gains in the feedlot. Consequently, they needed an additional 40 days to reach the target weight, irrespective of breed. Therefore, age at weaning had no major effects on the stress response to weaning or temperament, but early weaning increased the length of the feedlot period. On the other hand, Pirenaica calves were more reactive than Parda de Montaña calves to the stress of weaning and human presence.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Effect of age at weaning on the physiological stress response and temperament of two beef cattle breeds
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Effect of age at weaning on the physiological stress response and temperament of two beef cattle breeds
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Effect of age at weaning on the physiological stress response and temperament of two beef cattle breeds
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
Corresponding author
E-mail: jpalacio@unizar.es
References
Hide All
Albertí P, Sañudo C, Campo MM, Franco J, Lahoz F, Olleta JL 1997. Características productivas de terneros de siete razas bovinas españolas. Información Técnica Económica Agraria 18, 745747.
Arthington JD, Eicher SD, Kunkle WE, Martin FG 2003. Effect of transportation and commingling on the acute-phase protein response, growth, and feed intake of newly weaned beef calves. Journal of Animal Science 81, 11201125.
Arthington JD, Spears JW, Miller DC 2005. The effect of early weaning on feedlot performance and measures of stress in beef calves. Journal of Animal Science 83, 933939.
Boissy A 1995. Fear and fearfulness in animals. The Quarterly Review of Biology 70, 165191.
Boissy A, Bouissou MF 1988. Effects of early handling on heifers’ subsequent reactivity to humans and to unfamiliar situations. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 20, 259273.
Bueno AR, Rasby R, Clemens ET 2003. Age at weaning and the endocrine response to stress. Arquivo Brasileiro de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia 55, 17.
Burrow HM, Sesifer GW and Corbet NJ 1988. A new technique for measuring temperament in cattle. In Proceedings of the Australian Association of Animal Breeding and Genetics, pp. 208–211.
Casasús I, Sanz A, Villalba D, Ferrer R, Revilla R 2002. Factors affecting animal performance during the grazing season in a mountain cattle production system. Journal of Animal Science 80, 16381651.
Casasús I, Blanco M, Sanz A, Bernués A, Revilla R 2006. Considerations on the impact of early weaning of fall-born beef calves on system efficiency and potential use of pastures. In Quality production and quality of the environment in the mountain pastures of an enlarged Europe (ed. K Biala, J Nösberger, G Parente and A Peeters), pp. 285294. ERSA-Agenzia Regionale per lo Sviluppo Rurale, Gorizia, Italy.
Chacón G, García-Belenguer S, Illera JC, Palacio J 2004. Validation of an EIA technique for the determination of salivary cortisol in cattle. Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research 2, 4551.
Duncan JR, Prasse KW 1986. Veterinary laboratory medicine. Iowa State University Press, Ames, Iowa, USA, 285p.
Earley B, Crowe MA 2002. Effects of ketoprofen alone or in combination with local anesthesia during the castration of bull calves on plasma cortisol, immunological, and inflammatory responses. Journal of Animal Science 80, 10441052.
EFSA 2006. The risks of poor welfare in intensive calf farming systems. EFSA Journal 366, 136.
European Union Directive No. 86/609/CEE 1986. Council Directive of 24 November 1986 on the approximation of laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States regarding the protection of animals used for experimental and other scientific purposes. Official Journal of the European Communities Serie L358, 132.
Fell LR, Colditz IG, Walker KH, Watson DL 1999. Associations between temperament, performance and immune function in cattle entering a commercial feedlot. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 39, 795802.
Fisher AD, Crowe MA, O’Nuallain EM, Monaghan ML, Prendiville DJ, O’Kiely P, Enright WJ 1997. Effects of suppressing cortisol following castration of bull calves on adrenocorticotropic hormone, in vitro interferon-gamma production, leukocytes, acute-phase proteins, growth, and feed intake. Journal of Animal Science 75, 18991908.
García-Belenguer S, Palacio J, Gascón M, Aceña C, Revilla R, Mormède P 1996. Differences in the biological stress responses of two cattle breeds to walking up to mountain pastures in the Pyrenees. Veterinary Research 27, 515526.
Grandin T 1997. Assessment of stress during handling and transport. Journal of Animal Science 75, 249257.
Griffin JF 1989. Stress and immunity: a unifying concept. Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology 20, 263312.
Gwazdauskas FC, Paape MJ, Peery DA, McGilliard ML 1980. Plasma glucocorticoid and circulating blood leukocyte responses in cattle after sequential intramuscular injections of ACTH. American Journal of Veterinary Research 41, 10521056.
Haley DB, Bailey DW, Stookey JM 2005. The effects of weaning beef calves in two stages on their behavior and growth rate. Journal of Animal Science 83, 22052214.
Henry JP 1993. Biological basis of the stress responses. News in Physiological Sciences 8, 6973.
Hickey MC, Drennan M, Earley B 2003. The effect of abrupt weaning of suckler calves on the plasma concentrations of cortisol, catecholamines, leukocytes, acute-phase proteins and in vitro interferon-gamma production. Journal of Animal Science 81, 28472855.
I.N.R.A. 1981. Alimentation des ruminants. INRA Publications, Versailles.
Krohn CC, Boivin X, Jago JG 2003. The presence of the dam during handling prevents the socialization of young calves to humans. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 80, 263275.
Lefcourt AM, Elsasser TH 1995. Adrenal responses of Angus × Hereford cattle to the stress of weaning. Journal of Animal Science 73, 26692676.
Müller R, von Keyserlingk MAG 2006. Consistency of flight speed and its correlation to productivity and to personality in Bos taurus beef cattle. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 99, 193204.
Myers SE, Faulkner DB, Ireland FA, Parrett DF 1999. Comparison of three weaning ages on cow-calf performance and steer carcass traits. Journal of Animal Science 77, 323329.
Paape MJ, Dejardins C, Guidry AJ, Müler RH, Smith VR 1977. Response of plasma corticosteroids and circulating leukocytes in cattle following intravenous injection of different doses of adrenocorticotropin. American Journal of Veterinary Research 38, 13451348.
Palacio J 2000. Estudio comparativo de la respuesta de adaptación de dos razas bovinas: Parda Alpina y Pirenaica. PhD, Zaragoza University, 314p.
Payne JM, Payne S 1987. The metabolic profile test. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 179p.
Phillips WA 1984. The effect of assembly and transit stressors on plasma fibrinogen concentration of beef calves. Canadian Journal of Comparative Medicine 48, 3541.
Phillips WA, Juniewicz PE, Zavy MT, Von Tungeln DL 1989. The effect of the stress of weaning and transport on white blood cell patterns and fibrinogen concentration of beef calves of different genotypes. Canadian Journal of Animal Science 69, 333340.
Pollock JM, Rowan TG, Dixon JB, Carter SD, Spiller D, Warenius H 1993. Alteration of cellular immune responses by nutrition and weaning in calves. Research in Veterinary Science 55, 298306.
Pollock JM, Rowan TG, Dixon JB, Carter SD 1994. Level of nutrition and age at weaning: effects on humoral immunity in young calves. British Journal of Nutrition 71, 239248.
Sanz A, Casasús I, Villalba D, Revilla R 2003. Ad libitum suckling delays resumption of ovarian activity in Brown Swiss cows but not Pirenaica cows. Reproduction in Domestic Animals 38, 360.
SAS 1990. SAS/STAT user’s guide, version 6, 3rd edition. SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC, USA.
Schwartz A 1990. The politics of formula-fed veal calf production. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 196, 15781586.
Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare (SCAHAW) 2001. The welfare of cattle kept for beef production. In Dictorate General Health and Consumer Protection, Dictorate C – Scientific Health Opinions, Unit C2, SCAHAW. European Commision, Brussels, p. 150.
Smith DL, Wiggers DL, Wilson LL, Comerford JW, Harpster HW, Cash EH 2003. Postweaning behavior and growth performance of early and conventionally weaned beef calves. The Professional Animal Scientist 19, 2329.
Stookey JM, Schwartzkopf-Genswein KS, Waltz CS, Watts JM 1997. Effects of remote and contact weaning on behaviour and weight gain of beef calves. Journal of Animal Science 75, 157.
Villalba D, Casasus I, Sanz A, Estany J, Revilla R 2000. Preweaning growth curves in Brown Swiss and Pirenaica calves with emphasis on individual variability. Journal of Animal Science 78, 11321140.
Wittum TE, Young CR, Stanker LH, Griffin DD, Perino LJ, Littledike ET 1996. Haptoglobin response to clinical respiratory tract disease in feedlot cattle. American Journal of Veterinary Research 57, 646649.
Zavy MT, Juniewicz PE, Phillips WA, Von Tungeln DL 1992. The effect of initial restraint, weaning, and transport stress on baseline and ACTH-stimulated cortisol responses in beef calves of different genotypes. American Journal of Veterinary Research 53, 551557.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

animal
  • ISSN: 1751-7311
  • EISSN: 1751-732X
  • URL: /core/journals/animal
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 7
Total number of PDF views: 203 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 190 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 21st November 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.