The up-to-date literature suggests that the compost-bedded pack barn housing system is capable of remarkably improving productive and reproductive performance, as well as health status and welfare, in dairy cattle. However, there is currently limited knowledge available on the endocrine and biochemical changes in animals housed in such alternative systems. Therefore, this study aimed to measure blood cortisol (COR) and beta-endorphins (BE) in 22 two-year-old primiparae Fleckvieh cows, who were randomly allotted to the following two different housing systems: CB (n = 11) and FB (n = 11). Blood samples were collected at the beginning of the experiment (T0) and every two months thereafter (T1, T2, and T3). The COR and BE were measured through an immunoenzymatic kit. With the only exception being T0, no differences were observed over time between the two groups, neither for COR nor for BE. However, the blood cortisol levels of the CB cows decreased over time, while a T1 peak was identified in the FB group. On the contrary, both the housing systems displayed numerically higher BE at T3 than at the other experimental times. Therefore, the overall data suggest that the compost-bedded pack barn did not significantly affect the studied parameters. Accordingly, cow welfare should be assessed using a wider panel of animal-based indicators.

Effects of compost-bedded pack barn on circulating cortisol and beta-endorphins in dairy cows: A case study

Odore R.
First
;
Biasato I.
;
Gardini G.;D'angelo A.;Bellino C.
Last
2021-01-01

Abstract

The up-to-date literature suggests that the compost-bedded pack barn housing system is capable of remarkably improving productive and reproductive performance, as well as health status and welfare, in dairy cattle. However, there is currently limited knowledge available on the endocrine and biochemical changes in animals housed in such alternative systems. Therefore, this study aimed to measure blood cortisol (COR) and beta-endorphins (BE) in 22 two-year-old primiparae Fleckvieh cows, who were randomly allotted to the following two different housing systems: CB (n = 11) and FB (n = 11). Blood samples were collected at the beginning of the experiment (T0) and every two months thereafter (T1, T2, and T3). The COR and BE were measured through an immunoenzymatic kit. With the only exception being T0, no differences were observed over time between the two groups, neither for COR nor for BE. However, the blood cortisol levels of the CB cows decreased over time, while a T1 peak was identified in the FB group. On the contrary, both the housing systems displayed numerically higher BE at T3 than at the other experimental times. Therefore, the overall data suggest that the compost-bedded pack barn did not significantly affect the studied parameters. Accordingly, cow welfare should be assessed using a wider panel of animal-based indicators.
2021
11
11
3318
3318
Animal welfare; Beta-endorphins; Compost barn; Cortisol; Dairy cattle
Odore R.; Biasato I.; Gardini G.; D'angelo A.; Bellino C.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2318/1836795
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