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Effects of different road conditions on rectal temperature, behaviour and traumatic injuries during transportation of different crosses of temperate/tropical breeds of heifers

Minka, N. S., Ayo, J. O.
Animal production science 2018 v.58 no.12 pp. 2321-2328
Brahman, Simmental, White Fulani, animal production, bitumen, cattle transport, drinking, heifers, road transportation, roads, temperature, vocalization
One important and inevitable aspect of animal production is transportation. The effects of different types of road transportation on rectal temperature (RT), behaviour and traumatic injuries were assessed in 60 crosses of 50/50% temperate/tropical breeds of heifers. The heifers, comprised 20 crosses, each of Brahman/Gudali, Friesian/White Fulani and Simmental/Gudali breeds, were transported for 6 h; first, for 2 h through rough untarred road, then another 2 h each through an asphalt dual- and single-carriage roads, respectively. The results showed that transportation through untarred road induced significant (P < 0.05) increase in RT values, especially in Friesian/White Fulani breed. All (100%) the cattle fell down, vocalised and urinated/defaecated at least three times during the first 30 min of transportation through rough untarred road. The mean frequencies of falls, vocalisation and urinating/defaecating were 7.8 ± 1.2, 4.3 ± 0.6 and 3.2 ± 0.4, respectively. Transportation on double- and single-lane asphalt roads had no effect on the variables measured. The cattle stood for 5 h 8 min out of the 6-h transportation time and majority stood parallel to the direction of motion. Two Friesian/White Fulani crosses sustained injuries during loading and transportation on rough road. The proportion of time the heifers spent standing was low (P < 0.05), whereas more time was spent eating and drinking 3 h post-transportation, compared with pre-transportation. Friesian/White Fulani breed stood longer (P < 0.05), but spent less time eating and drinking in both pre- and post-transportation periods. In conclusion, road transportation of temperate/tropical crosses of heifers along asphalt road did not significantly affect their RT and behaviour, however, when transported along untarred road the RT and behaviour of the cattle may be compromised.