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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Nutritional Intervention During Transportation of Heifers

Author
item Eicher, Susan

Submitted to: Tri State Dairy Nutrition Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: April 17, 2001
Publication Date: April 17, 2001
Citation: EICHER, S.D. NUTRITIONAL INTERVENTION DURING TRANSPORTATION OF HEIFERS. TRI STATE DAIRY NUTRITION CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS. 2001. P. 133-141.

Technical Abstract: Transporting neonatal and adult cattle can interrupt the homeostatic state, leading to depressed immunity and altered nutritional status. Neonates are sensitive because of enhanced metabolic needs. Surprisingly, the stress of unloading and feeding is greater than is an uninterrupted long journey. All animals are susceptible to altered plasma mineral concentrations, which is mostly a function of dehydration. Most animals return to eating by 3 days post-transport, but morbid animals can take greater than 7 days and neonates still experience secondary infection up to 4 weeks post-transport. Energy and potassium supplementation have improved hydration and decreased nitrogen loss. Additionally, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, folic acid, and ascorbic acid are important in stress responses and their requirements are increased by stress. Vitamin E has not had a pronounced effect on transport stress, but zinc and chromium have both been beneficial following transport. Alternate therapies to return animals to normal eating patterns include the use of oral or subcutaneous electrolytes. Subcutaneously administered beta-glucan improved early morbidity following transport in heifers. Behavioral measures, such as the use of ""trainer"" cows (more so than trainer steers), has facilitated return to eating and reduced mortality. Interventions for improved nutritional status involve nutrient supplementation as well as changes in other management practices. This information will be especially useful to producers who are considering transporting heifers to contract growers.

Last Modified: 10/20/2014
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