Different housing systems for growing dairy bulls in Northern Finland - effects on performance, behaviour and immune status

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Abstract:

We compared performance, behaviour and immune status of Ayrshire bulls raised in different housing environments in Northern Finland. Thirty bulls were allotted to one of three treatments: uninsulated barn (UB bulls, five animals/pen, two pens), forest paddock (PAD bulls, five animals/PAD, two PADs) and tie-stall in an insulated barn (IB bulls, 10 animals in individual stalls). The daily gain tended to be higher in the IB bulls than in the PAD bulls. Energy intake of the UB and PAD bulls was higher but the feed conversion rate was worse than that of the IB bulls. The time budgets and diurnal rhythms of the UB and PAD bulls were quite similar. The measures of immune (IgG) status indicate that the hygiene of the bulls' surroundings decreased in summer, especially in the IB. Our study indicates that dairy bulls can be overwintered outdoors in Northern Finland without warm housing facilities.

Keywords: Beef production; feed intake; gain; outdoor housing; uninsulated housing

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09064700902919074

Affiliations: 1: MTT Agrifood Research Finland, Animal Production Research, Maaninka, Finland 2: MTT Agrifood Research Finland, Animal Production Research, Ruukki, Finland 3: Department of Biosciences, University of Kuopio, Kuopio, Finland 4: Savonia University of Applied Sciences, Iisalmi, Finland

Publication date: March 1, 2009

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