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Title: A pilot study of faecal corticosterone levels as a practical, non-detrimental mean to assess welfare state of dairy cows on a farm in Gozo
Authors: Mercieca, Nathaniel Paul
Keywords: Dairy products industry -- Malta
Dairy farming -- Malta
Livestock -- Effect of stress on
Issue Date: 2016
Abstract: The dairy industry is relatively new to Malta. This study would help to identify if the cows housed under local Maltese climatic conditions are being managed properly or not. Also it would point out some factors that might have contributed to the build up of heat stress in the cows. 11 cows were selected between July and October 2015 to test for faecal cortisol levels. The main aim is to pilot study the effects of climate, breed, stage of lactation, coat colour, Temperature Humidity Index and Body Condition Score. Results indicated that there was a particular effect of sever climatic conditions on the various stages of lactation, body condition score, coat colour and the breed. Faecal cortisol levels above 250 pg/ml could be an indicator of stress. Cows with a body condition score of 3 showed the least amount of heat stress from all the other cows. Regarding coat colour results showed that a coat colour of 50% black and 50% white is ideal. The cows tested in this study fell into four main breeds with the Holsteins being classified as the least susceptible to heat stress. Finally it was also noted that most of the days with heat stress occurred in the following months July, August and September.
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - InsES - 2016
Dissertations - InsESRSF - 2016

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