Animal Industry Report

Extension Number

ASL R2297



Summary and Implications

This study examined effects of sustained environmental cold on growth and health of dairy calves. Functional measures of energy metabolism, fat-soluble vitamin and mineral status, and immune competency were also evaluated. Newborn calves were assigned to warm or cold environments for 7wk. Cold environment temperature were maintained as close to 2°C as possible. Frequent wetting of the environment and calves augmented effects of the cold. The warm environment was maintained as close to 15°C as possible and humidity was not manipulated. Preventative medications or vaccinations were not administered. All calves were fed a non-medicated MR (20% CP and 20% fat fed at .45 kg/d) and non-medicated starter ad libitum. Cold environment averaged 12 o C lower than warm environment during the study period. Humidity averaged 10% higher in the cold environment. Respiratory health of the warm environment calves was moderately better than that of cold environment calves. Scour scores were unaffected by cold exposure. Growth rate was unaffected by environmental temperature; however, cold environment calves consumed more starter from wk 5 to 7. Blood glucose concentrations were lower and NEFA concentrations were higher in cold environment calves, indicative of a state of mild negative energy balance. Serum cytokine and fat-soluble vitamin concentrations, and antibody responses to vaccination were not impacted by sustained exposure to cold.

Copyright Holder

Iowa State University