Effect of maternal bovine appeasing substance on health and performance of preweaned dairy calves
Keywords:appeasing pheromone, stress, calves, Holstein, diarrhea, weight gain
This study aimed to evaluate the impacts of a maternal bovine appeasing substance (MBAS) administered to preweaned Holstein calves on their health and performance. In total, 410 calves individually allocated were enrolled (Treatment, n = 205; Control, n = 205). Treated calves received a topical application of MBAS to the nuchal skin (2.5 ml) and the skin above the muzzle (2.5 ml) at one day of age and then every 14 days until weaning at 60 days of life. An extra dose was applied when calves were moved from hutches to collective pens at approximately 100 days of age. Calves allocated to the control group did not receive any kind of treatment. MBAS reduced the incidence of diarrhea (treatment = 58.6% vs control = 70.8%; P = 0.01) as well as mortality risk (treatment = 2.4% vs control = 7.8%; P = 0.02). Furthermore, calves treated with MBAS had greater (P = 0.002) body weight 7 days after calves were moved from the hutches to the collective pens. Therefore, the use of MBAS during the preweaning period appears to be an effective strategy to improve health and growth of dairy calves.