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Selected Publication:

Type of publication: Journal Article
Type of document: Full Paper

Year: 2016

Authors: Roland, L; Drillich, M; Klein-Jöbstl, D; Iwersen, M

Title: Invited review: Influence of climatic conditions on the development, performance, and health of calves.

Source: J Dairy Sci. 2016; 99(4):2438-2452

Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Drillich Marc
Iwersen Michael
Klein-Jöbstl Daniela

Vetmed Research Units
University Clinic for Ruminants, Clinical Unit of Herd Management in ruminants

The objective of this review is to provide the reader with an overview of thermoregulatory mechanisms and the influence of climatic conditions in different housing systems on the development, performance, and health of calves. Thermic stress is observed in association with extreme temperatures and large temperature variations, but other variables such as relative humidity and wind speed can also contribute to thermic stress. Thermoregulation in calves is similar to that in adult cattle, but especially dystocial calves are more prone to heat loss. Heat or cold stress results in direct economic losses because of increased calf mortality and morbidity, as well as indirect costs caused by reduced weight gain, performance, and long-term survival. The climatic conditions in a variety of housing systems, associated health problems, and strategies to mitigate thermic stress are discussed in this review. The goal of housing is to alleviate the effect of climate on calves and provide a microclimate. Adequate ventilation with fresh air is essential to reduce respiratory disease. Common practices such as raising calves in individual outdoor enclosures have been challenged lately. Recent research seeks to evaluate the suitability of group housing under practical, economic, and animal welfare considerations. Limited results for reducing thermic stress can be achieved by simple measures such as shades or shelter, but additional heat or cold stress relieving strategies can be required depending on the housing system.

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