High calf mortality is an important factor of economic loss in dairy production. At present, limited data are available on calf rearing practices and calf mortality in Italian dairy farming. The aim of the study was to identify the most important management risk factors for preweaning calf mortality in Italian dairy farms. A group of 28 intensive dairy farms from Lombardy (Italy) were visited to collect information about calf management and calf mortality. Female calf mortality showed high variability among herds and in many cases the percentage of calves dead within the preweaning period was very high. The average perinatal mortality (during calving and within 24 h after birth) was 8.82% of total females born with a maximum value of 30.8%, whereas average early mortality (from 24 h to weaning) was 8.9±7.9%, with a maximum value of 28%. The herd size did not significantly affect calf mortality although the number of calves cared per operator in the big farms was higher than in the small ones. Multivariate logistic analysis showed that feeding first colostrum meal beyond three hours after birth, group housing before 30 d of age and feeding daily less than 5 L of milk or milk replacer per calf multiply the risk to have early mortality higher than 10%. The study showed that early calf mortality could be strongly reduced by paying more attention to a very limited number of operations.
|Titolo:||Management risk factors for calf mortality in intensive Italian dairy farms|
|Parole Chiave:||Calf management; Calf mortality; Dairy herd|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore AGR/19 - Zootecnica Speciale|
|Data di pubblicazione:||11-apr-2013|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.4081/ijas.2013.e26|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01 - Articolo su periodico|