Effects of Nose Flap Weaning on Calf Performance
This is the second trial of this experiment that was looking at finding the effects of weaning, removing the calf from the mother and its milk. This is one of the most stressful points in a calf’s life which can decrease the calf’s ability to fight off sickness and disease and also can reduce the amount of feed that the calf consumes. In an effort to decrease these negative effects, this experiment focused on a process known as the two-step weaning method to analyze the possible reduction of stress. The two-step weaning method includes the insertion of nose flaps. These are a piece of plastic that clips onto the calf’s nostrils and allows them to eat and drink but not to nurse on their mothers. This nose flap is inserted 1 week before the calf is separated from the mother to allow the calf to continue their contact with her without nursing. In this case, the calf will learn how to consume solid foods while staying in the comfort of a familiar environment and smells. Some farmers have neglected this method of weaning due to the possibility of a slower rate of weight gain for the calf and increased labor costs so this experiment is assessing the overall quality of the method and practicality of being used in the production world. The data was collected in the forms of feed weight and dry matter measurement and blood samples that evaluate hormones and substances in the bloodstream.
Principal Investigator(s): Dr. Katana Lippolis, Kendi Sayre, Alex Favilla