Some indicators of welfare of crated veal calves on three dietary iron regimens.

J. M. McFarlane, G. L. Morris, S. E. Curtis, J. Simon, J. J. McGlone

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21 Scopus citations


Holstein calves were managed from less than 1 wk of age as in the special-fed veal industry but subjected to three dietary regimens (n = 10/group): low dietary iron (LI = approximately 5 mg iron/kg dry milk replacer) throughout 16 wk; 2) high then low dietary iron (H-LI = 140 mg/kg through d 18, then approximately 5 mg/kg through wk 16; a typical industrial scheme) or 3) high dietary iron (HI = approximately 105 mg/kg throughout the study). Several physiologic, behavioral and health indicators of welfare were monitored at various times. From wk 7 on, blood hemoglobin concentration was higher in HI calves than in LI, whereas that in H-LI calves was intermediate. Blood red cell count was higher in HI calves than in LI from wk 11 to 16, and was higher in HI than in H-LI from wk 14 to 16. Ratio of blood segmented neutrophils to lymphocytes (an indicator of stress) did not differ due to dietary regimen. Between wk 2 and 16, lying time increased from 69.5 to 76.6% of total time. Oral behaviors (e.g., licking and gnawing) occupied less than 15% of total time. Dietary regimen did not affect time spent either lying or engaging in oral behaviors. Calves in all dietary-regimen and slaughter-age groups experienced high frequencies of pneumonia, digestive-tract maladies and trichobezoars, but neither disease nor medical-treatment frequency was related to dietary regimen. Live, hot-dressed carcass and liver weights of the five calves/group slaughtered at 16 wk were not affected by dietary regimens, but carcass grade was highest for LI calves and lowest for HI.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-325
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1988


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