Insättningsrutinernas effekt på tillväxt samt effekten av klinisk sjukdom på ätbeteendet hos kalvar i gruppbox med automatisk mjölkutfodring

University essay from SLU/Dept. of Animal Environment and Health

Abstract: The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of strategy for grouping calves into group pens with automatic milk-feeding systems on the calves' health and growth rate. The usefulness of changes in feeding behavior recorded by the computerized milk-feeder during periods of illness to identify calves with clinical diease was also studied. In the first experiment, 64 calves were moved in and out of group pens in a continuous way, while 46 calves were transferred into group pens until the the pen was considered "full". The calves in the latter groups were then held together until weaning. It was found that calves in the fixed groups grew approximately 100 g / day more compared to the calves in the dynamic groups. Signs of clinical respiratory disease were less frequent in this group, while the incidence of diarrhoea was slightly higher. In the second experiment health parameters, milk consumption and feeding behaviour was recorded daily for 46 calves. The aim was to study potential associations between clinical signs of illness and change in feeding behaviour. By comparing data during days of health and illness, respectively, it was found that the number of rewarded visits in the milk feeding station was reduced in 77 % of the calves during days of illness. The number of unrewarded visits to the milk feeding station showed to be the most sensitive indicator of illness and was reduced in 85 % of the calves during days of illness. A small decrease (p < 0,02) in drinking rate was seen during the transition from healthy calf to calf with signs of clinical disease. No differences in milk consumption between healthy and diseased calves could be found.

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