Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia
On-line version ISSN 1806-9290
CUNHA, Daniel de Noronha Figueiredo Vieira da et al. Performance, physiological and behavioral measurements of dairy calves in different housing systems: dry season. R. Bras. Zootec. [online]. 2007, vol.36, n.4, pp. 847-854. ISSN 1806-9290. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1516-35982007000400014.
The objective of this trial was to evaluate performance, thermal comfort and behavior of crossbred Holstein x Zebu dairy calves kept in different housing systems during the dry season (26/04/2002 to 30/08/2002). Twenty-four calves were raised from birth to 70 days of age in one of the following housing systems: (1 - hutches; 2 - shadecloth; or 3 - with no shelter. Calves raised with no shelter showed higher rectal temperatures and respiratory rates in the afternoon. It was also observed that calves spend most of the time outside the hutches. There were no differences among housing systems for behavior measurements as well as for body weight, average daily weight gain, starter intake, and feed efficiency. In all three housing systems calves used their latent heat loss mechanisms by increasing respiratory rates above normal range in the afternoon. Calves raised with no shelter showed increased rectal temperatures and respiratory rates and were not able to maintain these variables within normal physiological range. No significant differences in calf performance were observed across the three housing systems in the present study.
Keywords : hutches; rectal temperature; respiratory rate; thermal comfort.