Aspects of heifer rearing

Brickell, J. S., McGowan, M. M. and Wathes, D. C. (2008). Aspects of heifer rearing. In: Congress of the British Cattle Veterinary Association. Proceedings. BCVA 2008 Congress of the British Cattle Veterinary Association, Killarney, Ireland, (183-187). 13-15 November, 2008.

Author Brickell, J. S.
McGowan, M. M.
Wathes, D. C.
Title of paper Aspects of heifer rearing
Conference name BCVA 2008 Congress of the British Cattle Veterinary Association
Conference location Killarney, Ireland
Conference dates 13-15 November, 2008
Proceedings title Congress of the British Cattle Veterinary Association. Proceedings   Check publisher's open access policy
Journal name Cattle Practice   Check publisher's open access policy
Place of Publication Frampton-On-Severn, Glos, United Kingdom
Publisher British Cattle Veterinary Association
Publication Year 2008
Sub-type Fully published paper
Open Access Status
ISSN 0969-1251
Volume 16
Issue 3
Start page 183
End page 187
Total pages 5
Language eng
Formatted Abstract/Summary
Minimal losses, optimal growth rates and excellent fertility management are key factors of a good dairy heifer rearing system. This study determined the mortality, growth and fertility of Holstein-Friesian heifers on 19 UK dairy farms, and examined the relationships between growth parameters and concentrations of insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I), with each of these 3 key areas. A cohort of 506 heifer calves was recruited at 1 month and monitored through to first calving. Size parameters (body weight, heart girth, height at withers and crownrump length) and concentrations of IGF-I were measured in each calf at approximately 1 and 6 months, and the average daily change in each size parameter was calculated. On average 8% of male and female calves were born dead, or died within 24 hours of life, and approximately 15% of heifer calves born alive failed to reach first calving. The mean daily weight gain up to 6 months of life was 0.77 +/- 0.01 kg/day, ranging considerably between individual calves across farms from 0.23 to 1.25 kg/day. Increased body size and IGF-I concentration at I month was associated with a reduced risk of mortality, and improved growth rates during the first 6 months of life. Mean age at first calving was 26 +/- 0.2 months; increased pre-pubertal weight gain was significantly associated with a reduced age at first calving. This study has shown that a large number of potential replacement heifers born on UK farms fail to reach their first lactation, and for those that survive, weight gain during the pre-pubertal period is an important factor influencing the length of the non-productive period.
Subjects 1103 Clinical Sciences
Keyword Heifer
Insulin-like growth factor-I
Q-Index Code E1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: School of Veterinary Science Publications
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