Evaluation of covering materials in individual shelters and its effects on physiological responses and performance of dairy calves
Alternative titleAvaliação de materiais de cobertura em abrigos individuais sobre respostas fisiológicas e desempenho de bezerros leiteiros
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In Tropical regions, the animal performance is often affected by climate conditions. This study aimed to evaluate covering materials in individual shelters, normally used to house dairy calves, and its influence on the calves physiology and performance. The design used was completely randomized, with a 2x3 factorial arrangement to compare the averages of 5% through the Tukey's test, i.e., both genders-and three types of covering in the shelters (Z-zinc; AC-asbestos cement; and WPAC-white-painted asbestos cement). Parameters evaluated included daily weight gain (DWG), dry matter intake (DMI), feed conversion (FC), rectal temperature (RT), and respiratory frequency (RF). Results showed significant differences (P < 0.05) among males (1.04kg/day) and females (0.74kg/day) for DWG and interaction between gender and treatment (P < 0.05) for zinc covering (0.562kg/day for females and 1.120kg/day for males). Significant differences were also observed in FI of animals housed under shelters with the covering of zinc (48.35kgDM/day for females and 96.91 kgDM/day for males). There were no significant differences (P > 0.05) in the FC and the RT, and there were significant differences (P < 0.05) for RF in the Z treatments (56.9 mov.min-1), WPAC (62.2 mov.min-1) and FC (70.25 mov.min-1). It was concluded that different covering materials did not affect performance and dry matter intake of dairy calves. However, the animals' physiology of thermoregulation was altered by the different covering materials used in individual shelters.