Zootechnical and health performance of Holstein x Gir crossbred calves.

Affiliation

Weiller MAA(1)(2), Schmoeller E(2), Vieira LV(3), Barbosa AA(2), de Oliveira Feijó J(2), Brauner CC(2), Schmitt E(2), Corrêa MN(2), Rabassa VR(2), Del Pino FAB(2).
Author information:
(1)Federal Institute of Science and Technology of Rio Grande do Sul [Instituto Federal de Ciência e Tecnologia do Rio Grande do Sul], Bento Gonçalves, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.
(2)Center for Livestock Farming Research, Teaching and Extension [Núcleo de Pesquisa, Ensino e Extensão em Pecuária]
(NUPEEC), Federal University of Pelotas [Universidade Federal de Pelotas], Pelotas, RS, Brazil.
(3)Center for Livestock Farming Research, Teaching and Extension [Núcleo de Pesquisa, Ensino e Extensão em Pecuária]
(NUPEEC), Federal University of Pelotas [Universidade Federal de Pelotas], Pelotas, RS, Brazil. [Email]

Abstract

Crossbreeding is used to increase production and disease resistance in adult animals, and there is no research to assess the performance of animals in the early stages. The aim of this study was to evaluate the zootechnical and health performance of Holstein x Gir calves (½ HG: ½ Dutch ½ Gir and ¾ HG: ¾ Dutch ¼ Gir), from birth to 80 days of age, and compare metabolic parameters between groups. In this sense, calves were monitored for zootechnical parameters; epidemiological indexes such as morbidity, mortality, recurrence of diarrhea, pneumonia, and other diseases; as well as serum concentrations of aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatase, gamma-glutamyl transferase, total proteins, cholesterol, triglycerides, albumin, urea, and paraoxonase1 (PON1). ¾ HG calves showed higher morbidity for diarrhea and remained with diarrhea for longer compared to ½ HG calves, and this was reflected in the average daily weight gain until the 42nd day, with ½ HG calves performing better. There were no differences regarding passive immune transfer between groups, as well as no differences in morbidity and mortality from pneumonia. Regarding biochemical analyses, a difference was found only in the concentrations of PON1, which were higher in ¾ HG calves. The findings show that blood degree influences the occurrence and duration of diarrhea, negatively impacting the zootechnical performance of the animals. Crossbreeding bulls with zebu cattle can be an alternative to increase calf resistance and reduce diarrhea, thus lowering economic losses and improving animal performance.