The crossbreed with the Jersey breed has been used mainly as an alternative to increasing the concentration of milk solids in Holstein herds, the production capacity of these animals having become the focus of several studies. However, there is still limited information on many relevant factors for decision-making and management of crossbreed herds, such as disease resistance and ease of calving, and this is the motivation for this work, which aimed to evaluate the health, immunity and calving difficulty in Holstein x Jersey crossbred cows compared to pure Holstein cows. Data from calving difficulty, retained placenta, gestation length, blood indicators for postpartum metabolic diseases (ketosis and hypocalcemic puerperal paresis) and immunity in a herd composed by crossbreeds and Holstein cows during one year was analyzed. The genetic groups did not affect ease of calving (P = 0.4376), retained placenta (P = 0.7074) and gestation length (P=0.2812). Crossbred cows had higher concentrations of gammaglobulins (1.776 versus 1.456g/dL) and total protein (7.019 versus 6.525g/dL). For the concentration of BHBA, differences occurred only at calving, with higher values for crossbred cows (0.580 versus 0.427mmol/L). Difference was observed between genetic groups for concentration of ionized calcium (P = 0.082), with crossbred cows presenting lower concentrations (3.92 versus 4.3mg/dL). In conclusion, crossbred cows have superior performance compared to Holstein cows for immunity indicators and lower for hypocalcemic puerperal paresis and ketosis indicators on the day of calving. Crossbred cows do not have an increased risk of dystocia in relation to pure Holstein cows when mated with Holstein bulls.
ketosis; crossbreeding; immunoglobulins; hypocalcemic puerperal paresis; retained placenta