Other| Volume 15, ISSUE 3, P149-155, September 1999

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Effects of Transportation and Electrolyte Administration on Lamb, Pig, and Calf Behavior, Distress, and Performance Traits1

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      The effects of electrolytes and transportation on lamb, pig, and calf production and behavior traits were evaluated in three twice-replicated trials. In all trials, animals were randomly allotted to three treatment groups stratified by sex, weight, and breed: 1) not transported, water (CW); 2) transported, electrolyte (TE); and 3) transported, water (TW). Comparisons of CW vs TW resulted in the determination of the effects of transportation when water was used; comparisons of TE vs TW allowed the determination of the effects of electrolyte use in transported animals. Each trial consisted of two transportation days 1 wk apart (transports 1 and 2). Each transportation day consisted of a 4-h rest period between two separate 80-km transports. Seventy-two Dorset lambs (average 105 d; 51 ewes and 21 wethers), 72 Yorkshire weaned pigs (average 51 d; 15 barrows and 57 gilts), and 39 Angus x Simmental cross heifers (average 265 d) were used. In the lamb trial, for transports 1 and 2, weight loss was not different (P>0.05) for TE vs TW; CW lost less (P<0.01) weight than did TW. Average consumption per animal in the TE treatment group was 2.00 kg water or electrolyte solution, and the average per animal consumptions in the TW and CW treatment groups were 2.06 and 2.67 kg water, respectively. In the pig trial, for transports 1 and 2, weight loss was less (P<0.01) for TE than for TW. Average consumption in the TE treatment group was 6.38 kg water or electrolyte solution, and the averages for the TW and CW treatment groups were 4.20 and 5.71 kg water, respectively. In the heifer trial, for transports 1 and 2, weight loss was not different (P>0.05) for TE vs TW; CW lost less (P<0.01) weight than TW. The average animal in the TE treatment group consumed 9.06 kg water or electrolyte solution; the average per animal consumptions in the TW and CW treatment groups were 9.87 and 10.45 kg water, respectively. There were no differences in the behaviors or activities (agonistic, movement, lying down, or loss of balance) of the groups during transport. Administration of electrolytes prior to and during a rest period between transportations appeared to decrease weight loss and increase fluid consumption. This was more pronounced in monogastrics than in ruminants.

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