July 12, 2019

Animal Behavior and Well Being Symposium Recap

Animal Behavior and Well Being Symposium

By: Jerica Hall

How physically effective fiber affects ruminal pH in beef cattle fed high-concentrate diets 
With high concentrate diets, beef cattle productions systems face struggles such as the risk of subclinical acidosis as well as poor public perception that ruminants are only eating a diet of approximately 10% fiber. By increasing fiber size we can induce a greater chewing time. A 4x4 Latin square design with diets of 5, 7, 9 and 11% peNDF with a two week acclimation period and one week sampling period. Digital bunks scales and a ruminal bolus was used during sampling weeks. There was no statistical difference in ruminal pH. However, there was a difference in time under critical ruminal pH thresholds with 7, 9, 11 peNDF% having decreased time above critical ruminal pH thresholds (p<0.05).

Effects of transport time and rest stop duration on welfare indicators of beef cattle traveling by road

Transportation regulations vary across states and countries, current industry changes are shifting towards decreasing transportation time and increasing rest duration times. Within this study and serum samples were collected for analysis of cortisol, NEFA, haptoglobin, lactate, and CBC to measure physiological changes during transportation stressors. 320 animals were sampled over a two week period with four different rest duration treatments of 0h, 4h, 8h and 12h after an initial transportation time of 12h. After rest times animals were loaded and transported an additional 4h. There was a transport effect of p <0.04 on body weight. Additionally, there was a rest effect of p < 0.0001 of body weight with the 0h rest having lower body weights than other treatments. For shrink percentage, there was a transport and rest effect of p < 0.0001 and p < 0.0004 respectively.  

Effects of castration stress on behaviors and leukocyte cytokine gene expression in Korean cattle bull calves

Cytokines may serve as an early indication of inflammation. Cytokine is a key modulator of inflammation. 19 Korean bulls were used with n=10 in the surgical castration treatment and n=9 for the sham treatment. The average daily gain was negatively impacted by the surgically castrated group  (p<0.001) while dry matter intake was not affected. The behavior of lying time, drink and eating time was observed up to 3.5h after castration was performed. The castration group spent less time laying down and often shifted positions. Castration group had elevated serum and saliva cortisol levels at d1, p < 0.05. Castrated calves had increased IL-1A, IL-1B, and IL-6  mRNA levels, these elevated levels may be an indication of inflammation, further studies need to be done to validate these findings.
Using synergetic antibacterial combinations based on vegetable essential oils to replace feeding antibiotics

Evaluation of different types of journeys on welfare indicators or un-weaned calves transported by road in Europe

Within the European system, many calves are transported for long durations calves young as 14d of age. The object of this study focused on the physiological and behavioral status of calves transported in three different forms of transport; direct, bus and center. Data collection of slips, falls, go back and reluctance to move were recorded upon arrival. Additionally, blood samples for NEFA, cortisol, total cell count were collected at arrival as well as rectal temperature. Concentrations of NEFA and BHBA were greater indirect and bus transported animals p < 0.001. Animals transported at center facilities had increased rectal temperatures p <0.001 upon arrival. 

Effects of dietary supplying icariin on the bone metabolism and the laying performance in caged laying hens

Osteoporosis in laying hens hinders hen performance as well as a higher incidence of softshell legs. Previous literature suggests that icariin has the potential to prevent osteoporosis in laying hens. Laying hens were fed one of three diets, a control diet, a diet with an inclusion 0.5% icariin or 2.0% icariin. Icariin may serve as an inhibitor of bone reabsorption through downregulation of bone degradation.