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Schmidek A.,APTA | Rodrigues Paranhosda Costa M.J.,Grupo ETCO Grupo de Estudos e Pesquisas em Etologia e Ecologia Animal | Rodrigues Paranhosda Costa M.J.,Sao Paulo State University | Zerlotti Mercadante M.E.,Centro Apta Bovinos Of Corte Iz Apta Saa Sp | And 4 more authors.
Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia

The objective of the present study was to evaluate the genetic and non-genetic effects that influencevigor at birth and preweaning mortality in Nellore calves. A total of 11,727 records of births that occurred between 1978 and 2006, offspring of 363 sires, were analyzed. Poor calf vigor at birth (VB) and preweaning mortality divided into stillbirth (SB), early mortality (EM) and total mortality (TM) were analyzed as binary variables. Generalized linear models were used for the evaluation of non-genetic effects and generalized linear mixed models for genetic effects (sire and animal models). The incidences were 4.75% for VB, 2.66% for SB, 5.28% for EM, and 7.99% for TM. Birth weight was the effect that most influenced the traits studied. Calves weighing less than 22kg(females) and less than 24kg (males) were at a higher risk of low vigor and preweaning mortality. Preweaning mortality was higher among calves born from cows aged .3 and .11 years at calving compared with cows aged 7 to 10 years. Male calves presented less vigor and higher preweaning mortality than female calves. Selection for postweaning weight did not influence preweaning mortality. The heritability estimates ranged between 0.01 and 0.09 for VB, 0.00 and 0.27 for SB, 0.03 and 0.17 for EM and 0.02 and 0.10 for TM. Stillbirth should be included as a selection criterion in breeding programs of Nellore cattle, alone or as part of a selection index, aiming to reduce preweaning mortality. © 2013 Sociedade Brasileira de Zootecnia. Source

Toledo L.M.,Grupo ETCO Grupo de Estudos e Pesquisas em Etologia e Ecologia Animal | Toledo L.M.,Institute Zootecnia | Paranhos Da Costa M.J.R.,Grupo ETCO Grupo de Estudos e Pesquisas em Etologia e Ecologia Animal | Paranhos Da Costa M.J.R.,Sao Paulo State University | And 4 more authors.

Black vultures (Coragyps atratus) are often present near calving sites, and under this situation they may play a positive role by removing animal carcasses and afterbirth or a negative role by attacking neonate calves or disturbing cow-calf behaviours following parturition. Cow-calf behaviour was recorded over a 4-year study period from a total of 300 births involving 200 Nellore, 54 Guzerat, 20 Gyr and 26 Caracu cows. The calving site in relation to the location of the herd, considering cow-calf pairs within, close or distant to the herd, the presence of vultures and the behaviour of cows and calves were recorded instantaneously, at 5-min interval. On average, vultures were present at 80% of the calving sites. The frequency of vultures present at calving sites was dependent on the years for the Nellore herd, increasing from 1998 to 2003. When vultures were present, the time that the cow was in contact with its calf decreased, and the percentage of time that the cow was standing still increased. Vultures were observed pecking cows and their neonates during 34.1% of all recordings. However, in only two cases pecking injuries were actually observed on calves that were noted to be very weak. The preliminary results suggest that although black vultures cannot be characterized as a predator of neonate calves, they sometimes attack neonate calves and their presence near the calving sites alter the behaviours of cows and calves. © 2012 The Animal Consortium. Source

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