ISSN / EISSN : 20762615 / 20762615
Current Publisher: MDPI (10.3390)
Total articles ≅ 2,090
Latest articles in this journal
Animals, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/ani10020314
Abstract:In Australia, free-range pullets are typically reared indoors, which may hinder later adjustment to outdoor access. Rearing enrichments could optimise pullet development. Hy-Line Brown® chicks (n = 1700) were reared indoors across 16 weeks with 3 enrichment treatments: (1) a standard control; (2) novel objects (novelty) provided weekly or (3) perching structures (structural) provided. All pullets were weighed at 5, 8, 12, and 16 weeks old. Pullets (n = 87) were tested in a novel arena at 9 weeks and manual restraint (n = 90) at 16 weeks. At 15 weeks, lymphoid organs were extracted and weighed from 90 pullets. Pullets were transferred to the free-range facility at 16 weeks and housed in 9 identical pens within rearing treatments. Hens perching were counted via video recordings across the first week. The structural pullets had the highest relative adrenal weights (p = 0.03) but differences may not have been biologically relevant. Structural hens perched less than the novelty hens in the layer facility (p = 0.02). There were no other consistent rearing treatment differences. The rearing environments had minimal effects on pullet behaviour and welfare, but data from the adult hens did show some longer-term welfare impacts.
Animals, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/ani10020312
Abstract:Dehorning causes pain and distress to cattle, and there is a need to provide effective and practical analgesia to improve animal welfare. We conducted an experiment to determine the effect of a modified post-operative topical wound management formulation containing two local anaesthetics (TA) on the plasma cortisol concentration (PCC) of scoop-dehorned calves. Two months old Holstein-Friesian heifer calves (n = 30) were randomly allocated to sham dehorning control (CON), scoop dehorning (D), or scoop dehorning with immediate post-operative application of the TA (DTA). Blood samples were obtained via jugular venepuncture prior to sham or actual dehorning, and 40 min, 1.5, 4 and 24 h later. PCC changed significantly over time (p < 0.01). There was a trend for lower PCC in DTA calves compared to D calves (p = 0.09), with the PCC area under the curve lowest in CON calves as compared to D and DTA calves (p = 0.02). Cortisol concentrations were similar between D and DTA at all time points. The TA did not reduce cortisol concentrations up to 24 h following treatment and the cortisol response likely reflects the pain induced by the procedure, the effect of handling and restraint, and haemorrhaging which limited adherence of the TA actives. A multimodal analgesic approach, as assessed through multiple pain indicators, should be the focus of future work.
Animals, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/ani10020310
Abstract:First-week mortality is an important performance index as well as an important welfare indicator. The aim of the present study was to identify internal (individual-dependent) and external (management or environmental) factors that could influence the cumulative first-week mortality of broilers. To carry out this study, field data obtained from a hatchery company were used, in which 2267 flocks of broiler chicks (from 2015 to 2018), were analyzed. A generalized linear mixed model was used to analyze the data. Farm ID and house by farm were incorporated as random effects. The Odds Ratio was estimated for each factor, determining the effect of each explanatory variable. First-week mortality was significantly related to breeder age (p < 0.0001), chick gender (p < 0.0001) and breed (p < 0.0001) as internal factors, and type of broiler house (p = 0.0129), presence or absence of drip cup (p < 0.0001), egg storage (p < 0.0001), study year (p < 0.0001) and season (p < 0.0001) as external factors. Therefore, these factors should be considered in the decision making of poultry breeding companies, in order to reduce possible welfare problems and increase productive performance.
Animals, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/ani10020309
Abstract:As sows continue to be selected for greater prolificacy, it is important to review problems that arise in larger litters, and whether these issues can be appropriately managed. Although a proportion of piglets in larger litters can be born underweight, proper supervision around farrowing and adequate colostrum intake has the potential to improve the survival of low-birth-weight piglets and their ongoing growth to weaning. As larger litters can impart greater stress and discomfort on sows, implementing a low-stress environment leading up to parturition may improve sow performance and subsequent survival of piglets. Additionally, treating sows with anti-inflammatory compounds, either dietary or pharmacologically, shows some promise for alleviating sow discomfort and improving piglet survival in larger litters. Understanding that selecting sows for larger litters not only affects piglet survival but the well-being of the sow, the decision to continue selecting for larger litters, regardless of management strategies, remains a topic of ethical concern.
Animals, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/ani10020311
Abstract:Limited research has been performed to evaluate the effects of high-frequency electrical stunning (ES) methods on the lipid oxidative stability of the meat goose livers. This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of high-frequency-ES current intensities on lipid oxidative stability and antioxidant capacity in the liver of Yangzhou goose (Anser cygnoides domesticus). Forty 92-day-old male Yangzhou geese were randomly divided into five treatments (n = 8). Geese were not stunned (control) or exposed to ES for 10 s with alternating current (AC) at 500 Hz in a water bath. Current intensities were set at 30 V/20 mA (E30V), 60 V/40 mA (E60V), 90 V/70 mA (E90V), or 120 V/100 mA (E120V), respectively. The malondialdehyde level at day 0 was the highest in 120 V (p < 0.05). Antioxidant enzymes’ activity on day 2 was the highest in E60V. The 1, 1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl free radical (DPPH·) elimination ability was lower in the E120V than that in the E60V at two days and four days postmortem (p < 0.05). A combination of 60 V/40 mA/ 500 Hz/ 10 s per bird could be applied in the ES of Yangzhou geese to improve the lipid oxidative stability and antioxidant capacity in the livers.
Animals, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/ani10020313
Abstract:This study was conducted to investigate the feasibility of improving fertility in dairy cows via immunization against inhibin. Thirty-two cows were divided into Control (n = 11), Low-dose (n = 10) and High-dose (n = 11) groups. The High-dose and Low-dose cows were treated with 1 and 0.5 mg of the inhibin immunogen, respectively. All the cows were subjected to the Ovsynch protocol from the day of antigen administration and were artificially inseminated. Blood samples were serially collected over a 24-day period from the start of the Ovsynch protocol to 14 days after insemination. The results showed that immunization against inhibin dose-dependently increased the plasma concentrations of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), estradiol (E2), and activin A, but decreased progesterone (P4) concentrations in the luteal phase. Immunization also increased the plasma interferon (IFN)-τ concentrations in pregnant cows on day 14 after initial insemination. The conception rates in High-dose (45.5%) and Low-dose (40%) cows marginally increased compared to that in Control cows (27.3%), but the increases were not significant (p > 0.05). In conclusion, a single immunization against inhibin has the potential to improve conception rates, despite impaired luteal development. To further improve the reproductive performance of dairy cows, additional luteal-stimulating treatments are suggested in combination with immunization against inhibin and Ovsynch techniques.
Animals, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/ani10020308
Abstract:Two models are proposed to describe atypical biphasic gas production profiles obtained from in vitro digestibility studies. The models are extensions of the standard Mitscherlich equation, comprising either two Mitscherlich terms or one Mitscherlich and one linear term. Two models that describe typical monophasic gas production curves, the standard Mitscherlich and the France model [a generalised Mitscherlich (root-t) equation], were assessed for comparison. Models were fitted to 25 gas production profiles resulting from incubating feedstuffs with faecal inocula from equines. Seventeen profiles displayed atypical biphasic patterns while the other eight displayed typical monophasic patterns. Models were evaluated using statistical measures of goodness-of-fit and by analysis of residuals. Good agreement was found between observed atypical profiles values and fitted values obtained with the two biphasic models, and both can revert to a simple Mitscherlich allowing them to describe typical monophasic profiles. The models contain kinetic fermentation parameters that can be used in conjunction with substrate degradability information and digesta passage rate to calculate extent of substrate degradation in the rumen or hindgut. Thus, models link the in vitro gas production technique to nutrient supply in the animal by providing information relating to digestion and nutritive value of feedstuffs.
Animals, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/ani10020304
Abstract:As the co-enzyme of pyruvate formate-lyase under ruminal anaerobic condition, thiamine plays a critical role in carbohydrate metabolism in dairy cows. The objective of this study was to investigate the impacts of thiamine supplementation on ruminal carbohydrate-active enzymes. Twelve Holstein dairy cows were randomly assigned into three dietary treatments: control diet (CON; 20% starch, dry matter (DM) basis), high-concentrate diet (HC; 33.2% starch, DM basis) and a high-concentrate diet supplemented with 180 mg thiamine/kg DM (HCT; 33.2% starch, DM basis). Dry matter intake and milk production were recorded for 21 days. Rumen fluid samples were collected, and ruminal pH and volatile fatty acids (VFAs) were measured. The metagenome sequencing technique was used to detect the genes in ruminal microorganisms and identify putative carbohydrate-active enzymes. The total abundances of carbohydrate-active enzymes and fiber-degrading enzymes were both reduced by HC with no effect on starch-degrading enzymes compared with CON. However, the fiber-degrading enzymes and starch-degrading enzymes were both increased after thiamine supplementation. These results indicated that 180 mg thiamine /kg DM might effectively improve rumen carbohydrate metabolism through increasing the abundance of ruminal carbohydrate-active enzymes and consequently balanced the rumen volatile fatty acids and rumen pH, providing a practical strategy in preventing subacute ruminal acidosis in cows offered HC.
Animals, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/ani10020305
Abstract:We explore elephant play behaviour since (a) play has been proposed to represent a potential welfare indicator; and (b) play has been associated with long-term survival in the wild. We categorised play into four types, and investigate both social (gentle, escalated-contact) and non-social (lone-locomotor, exploratory-object) play from observations made on wild (Asian N = 101; African N = 130) and captive (Asian N = 8; African N = 7) elephant calves ranging in age from birth to five years. Social play was the most frequent type of play among immature elephants, accounting for an average of 3%–9% of active time. Non-social play accounted for an additional 1%–11% of time. The most time spent in play was seen in captive Asian calves, particularly at the ages of 1–6 months, while wild African calves spent the least time in play overall, even though they had the greatest number and most diverse range of play partners available. We assessed calf energetics using time spent suckling, resting, moving and independent feeding. Time spent playing was unrelated to time spent suckling but negatively associated with time spent independently feeding. There were no associations with time spent moving or resting. Maternal energy via lactation was unrelated to play early in life, but energy acquired independently may constrain or enable play. Play, while a potential indicator of compromised welfare for many species when absent, can act as a highly stimulating activity for captive elephants in the absence of other forms of arousal.
Animals, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/ani10020306
Abstract:In order to efficiently have a consistent supply of service-ready gilts available to incorporate into each batch of breeding sows, it is necessary to manipulate the timing of estrus and possibly the timing of ovulation of gilts. Estrus can be synchronized by the withdrawal of altrenogest after at least 14 days of treatment. It is possible that protocols developed to induce ovulation, and therefore allow fixed-time artificial insemination (FTAI), can improve the predictability of gilt breeding. This study investigated the effect of two FTAI protocols in gilts on reproductive performance and timing of farrowing and piglet weaning weight compared to gilts bred based on signs of estrus after cessation of altrenogest. Puberty was induced in gilts, followed by treatment with altrenogest. Following altrenogest withdrawal, 180 gilts were assigned to one of three treatment groups. Group 1 gilts (LUT, n = 62) were treated with 600 IU equine chorionic gonadotropin 24 h after altrenogest withdrawal and 5 mg porcine luteinizing hormone (pLH) 80 h later, followed by a single FTAI 36 h after pLH. Group 2 gilts (TRI, n= 61) received 2 mL of a gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist, triptorelin acetate, intravaginally 6 d after altrenogest withdrawal and were bred by a single FTAI 24 h later. Group 3 gilts (CON, n = 57) were observed for estrus and bred twice by AI, 24 h apart. LUT and TRI gilts farrowed closer together (2.4 ± 1.6 and 2.9 ± 1.2 d(days), respectively) compared to CON gilts (4.5 ± 3.3 d). Piglets in LUT were 80 g (p < 0.001) heavier and piglets in TRI were 64 g (p < 0.05) heavier at weaning than CON piglets, when controlling for birth weight. Results indicate that FTAI might be useful as a means of minimizing the time from the first to the last gilt farrowing in a breeding batch of gilts. However, modifications of the protocols may be required to ensure optimum farrowing rates and litter size.