Effect of a difficult calving on the vigour of the calf, the onset of maternal behaviour, and some behavioural indicators of pain in the dam

AC Barrier, E Ruelle, MJ Haskell, CM Dwyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The neonate’s development and survival is dependent upon being vigorous at birth and receiving appropriate maternal care. However, difficulty at delivery can result in less vigorous offspring and maternal care can be altered, probably as a consequence of exhaustion, pain and human intervention. The first 3 h after expulsion of the calf were observed continuously from videos following twelve natural calvings and sixteen calvings assisted by farm staff (including four malpresentations) from Holstein cows. Calvings were balanced within groups for parity of the dam, genetic group, sex and birth weight of the calf, calving pen and calving season. Assisted calves were less vigorous with higher latencies to attempt to stand, achieve standing, walk and reach the udder than unassisted calves (P < 0.05). Furthermore, assisted calves also tended to be less likely to stand and walk within the first 3 h after birth (P < 0.1), spent more time lying on their flank (P = 0.019) and had more frequent bouts of this behaviour (P = 0.033). Assisted dams did not take longer to lick the calf and performed as much licking as unassisted dams (P > 0.05), indicating no delayed onset or impaired expression of maternal behaviour in dams given assistance at delivery. Study of potential pain-related behaviours revealed that assisted dams spent less time self-grooming (P = 0.033) than dams delivering naturally, which could suggest greater pain. However, there were no significant differences in any of the other pain-related behaviours. Our results suggest that, although maternal behaviour was unaffected by a difficult delivery, dairy calves born following difficult calvings have lower vigour in the first 3 h after birth than unassisted calves. This might have longer-term effects on the health and survival of the calves. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257 - 64
Number of pages192
JournalPreventive Veterinary Medicine
Volume103
Publication statusFirst published - 2012

Fingerprint

maternal behavior
dams (mothers)
vigor
calving
pain
calves
grooming (animal behavior)
parity (reproduction)
udders
birth weight
long term effects
dairies
neonates
Holstein
cows
gender

Keywords

  • Calving ease
  • Dairy calves
  • Dystocia
  • Maternal behaviour
  • Pain
  • Vigour

Cite this

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abstract = "The neonate’s development and survival is dependent upon being vigorous at birth and receiving appropriate maternal care. However, difficulty at delivery can result in less vigorous offspring and maternal care can be altered, probably as a consequence of exhaustion, pain and human intervention. The first 3 h after expulsion of the calf were observed continuously from videos following twelve natural calvings and sixteen calvings assisted by farm staff (including four malpresentations) from Holstein cows. Calvings were balanced within groups for parity of the dam, genetic group, sex and birth weight of the calf, calving pen and calving season. Assisted calves were less vigorous with higher latencies to attempt to stand, achieve standing, walk and reach the udder than unassisted calves (P < 0.05). Furthermore, assisted calves also tended to be less likely to stand and walk within the first 3 h after birth (P < 0.1), spent more time lying on their flank (P = 0.019) and had more frequent bouts of this behaviour (P = 0.033). Assisted dams did not take longer to lick the calf and performed as much licking as unassisted dams (P > 0.05), indicating no delayed onset or impaired expression of maternal behaviour in dams given assistance at delivery. Study of potential pain-related behaviours revealed that assisted dams spent less time self-grooming (P = 0.033) than dams delivering naturally, which could suggest greater pain. However, there were no significant differences in any of the other pain-related behaviours. Our results suggest that, although maternal behaviour was unaffected by a difficult delivery, dairy calves born following difficult calvings have lower vigour in the first 3 h after birth than unassisted calves. This might have longer-term effects on the health and survival of the calves. {\circledC} 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.",
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Effect of a difficult calving on the vigour of the calf, the onset of maternal behaviour, and some behavioural indicators of pain in the dam. / Barrier, AC; Ruelle, E; Haskell, MJ; Dwyer, CM.

In: Preventive Veterinary Medicine, Vol. 103, 2012, p. 257 - 64.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Effect of a difficult calving on the vigour of the calf, the onset of maternal behaviour, and some behavioural indicators of pain in the dam

AU - Barrier, AC

AU - Ruelle, E

AU - Haskell, MJ

AU - Dwyer, CM

PY - 2012

Y1 - 2012

N2 - The neonate’s development and survival is dependent upon being vigorous at birth and receiving appropriate maternal care. However, difficulty at delivery can result in less vigorous offspring and maternal care can be altered, probably as a consequence of exhaustion, pain and human intervention. The first 3 h after expulsion of the calf were observed continuously from videos following twelve natural calvings and sixteen calvings assisted by farm staff (including four malpresentations) from Holstein cows. Calvings were balanced within groups for parity of the dam, genetic group, sex and birth weight of the calf, calving pen and calving season. Assisted calves were less vigorous with higher latencies to attempt to stand, achieve standing, walk and reach the udder than unassisted calves (P < 0.05). Furthermore, assisted calves also tended to be less likely to stand and walk within the first 3 h after birth (P < 0.1), spent more time lying on their flank (P = 0.019) and had more frequent bouts of this behaviour (P = 0.033). Assisted dams did not take longer to lick the calf and performed as much licking as unassisted dams (P > 0.05), indicating no delayed onset or impaired expression of maternal behaviour in dams given assistance at delivery. Study of potential pain-related behaviours revealed that assisted dams spent less time self-grooming (P = 0.033) than dams delivering naturally, which could suggest greater pain. However, there were no significant differences in any of the other pain-related behaviours. Our results suggest that, although maternal behaviour was unaffected by a difficult delivery, dairy calves born following difficult calvings have lower vigour in the first 3 h after birth than unassisted calves. This might have longer-term effects on the health and survival of the calves. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

AB - The neonate’s development and survival is dependent upon being vigorous at birth and receiving appropriate maternal care. However, difficulty at delivery can result in less vigorous offspring and maternal care can be altered, probably as a consequence of exhaustion, pain and human intervention. The first 3 h after expulsion of the calf were observed continuously from videos following twelve natural calvings and sixteen calvings assisted by farm staff (including four malpresentations) from Holstein cows. Calvings were balanced within groups for parity of the dam, genetic group, sex and birth weight of the calf, calving pen and calving season. Assisted calves were less vigorous with higher latencies to attempt to stand, achieve standing, walk and reach the udder than unassisted calves (P < 0.05). Furthermore, assisted calves also tended to be less likely to stand and walk within the first 3 h after birth (P < 0.1), spent more time lying on their flank (P = 0.019) and had more frequent bouts of this behaviour (P = 0.033). Assisted dams did not take longer to lick the calf and performed as much licking as unassisted dams (P > 0.05), indicating no delayed onset or impaired expression of maternal behaviour in dams given assistance at delivery. Study of potential pain-related behaviours revealed that assisted dams spent less time self-grooming (P = 0.033) than dams delivering naturally, which could suggest greater pain. However, there were no significant differences in any of the other pain-related behaviours. Our results suggest that, although maternal behaviour was unaffected by a difficult delivery, dairy calves born following difficult calvings have lower vigour in the first 3 h after birth than unassisted calves. This might have longer-term effects on the health and survival of the calves. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

KW - Calving ease

KW - Dairy calves

KW - Dystocia

KW - Maternal behaviour

KW - Pain

KW - Vigour

M3 - Article

VL - 103

SP - 257

EP - 264

JO - Preventive Veterinary Medicine

JF - Preventive Veterinary Medicine

SN - 0167-5877

ER -