Interpretive Summary: Fonesca appeasing substance bos indicus summary
By Caitlin Vonderohe
Transport and feedlot entry are among the most stressful events in the lives of feedlot cattle, and the stress from these events tend to adversely impact welfare and productivity. Therefore, there is a great interest in strategies to relieve these stresses to improve welfare and performance. In a recent paper in the Journal of Animal Science, “Strategic administration of an appeasing substance to improve performance and physiological responses of Bos indicus feedlot cattle,” by Fonesca et al. describes the effects of a “bovine appeasing substance,” a fatty acid mixture designed to replicate a pheromone produced by cows, on performance and stress responses of Bos indicus cattle after transport and upon feedlot entry.
One hundred bulls were assigned to receive the bovine appeasing substance (BAS) or placebo then transported to a commercial feedlot. Here the bulls were allocated to one of four treatments on transport and subsequent entry into feedlot pens: control–control, bulls received the control dose before transport and before feedlot entry; control–BAS, where bulls received the control treatment prior transport and BAS prior to feedlot entry; BAS-control, where bulls received BAS prior to transport but received the control treatment prior to feedlot entry; and BAS-BAS, where the bulls received BAS prior to transport and entry into feedlot. Bulls were weighed and blood was sampled at several points throughout the study.
BAS treatment at loading also increased average daily gain, feed intake and feed efficiency compared to the control-treated animals. BAS treatment at feedlot entry resulted in transient improvements in average daily gain, feed efficiency, and feed intake, but no differences were detected among treatments at the end of the 108 day study. Overall, the improvements in growth performance elicited by BAS administration demonstrate that this may be a promising strategy to improve welfare and growth performance in the future.