Growth performance, behavior, physiology, forestomach development, abomasal lesions, and meat quality of veal calves fed a milk-replacer diet (No Water) were compared to those obtained from calves fed the same diet and provided with increasing amounts of drinking water (Water). Two groups of 69 Polish Friesian calves, balanced according to initial BW, were assigned to two water treatments in a 3 x 2 x 2 factorial arrangement that provided solid feed in addition to the milk-replacer diet (No solid feed, 250 g x calf(-1) x d(-1) of wheat straw or the same amount of beet pulp), and the adoption of two housing systems (individual stall vs group pen). The fattening trial lasted 160 d, and calves received drinking water starting from the 2nd wk of the study. The amount of drinking water was progressively increased from 3 to 8 L x cal(-1) x d(-1). Although not dehydrated, as shown by hematocrit and Na, K, and total protein hemoconcentration, calves consumed almost all the offered amount of water throughout the fattening period. Therefore, the water provided by the milk replacer alone, which ranged between 6 to 16 L calf d(-1), was not sufficient to satisfy the need of the animal. Drinking water did not affect the calves' growth performance but it reduced nonnutritive oral behavior throughout the fattening period. Based on these results, drinking water did not cover a shortage in the calves' water requirement but it played a role in environmental enrichment. Health status was similar between treatments, although water provision reduced the episodes of feed refusal. The measurement of chronic stress by ACTH challenge showed that the administration of drinking water would be advisable when calves are fed with small amounts of solid feed for well-being. Feces consistency and animal cleanliness were not affected by drinking water. At slaughter, forestomach development was similar between treatments, and drinking water did not affect the number of calves showing rumen hair-balls and abomasal lesions. No differences in color and other meat quality traits were observed between Water and No Water calves. Despite the lack of direct effects on productive traits, when water was available, the calves drank it, and positive effects were noticed on their nonnutritive oral behaviors and chronic stress indicators.
|Titolo:||The provision of drinking water to veal calves for welfare purposes|
MATTIELLO, SILVANA (Secondo)
|Parole Chiave:||Drinking; Animal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena; Animals; Random Allocation; Health Status; Adrenocorticotropic Hormone; Meat; Digestion; Nutritional Requirements; Animals, Newborn; Animal Feed; Cattle; Animal Welfare; Housing, Animal; Animal Husbandry; Male; Stress, Physiological|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore VET/03 - Patologia Generale e Anatomia Patologica Veterinaria|
Settore AGR/19 - Zootecnica Speciale
|Data di pubblicazione:||set-2002|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01 - Articolo su periodico|