Differences in serum protein, serum IgG, faecal consistency, respiratory disease, and perinatal and pre-weaning mortality among Holstein and backcross (Holstein * Jersey) * Holstein calves were assessed. Crossbred calves (N=192) had higher serum protein (P<0.01) and serum IgG (P<0.05) levels between 24 and 72 hr of age, as well as lower rates of perinatal and pre-weaning morality (P<0.05) than Holstein calves (N=181). Mean faecal consistency scores from birth to 7 d of age also tended to be lower (P<0.10) among crossbred calves, as compared with Holstein calves. No differences were observed in the incidence or severity of respiratory disease. Results of this study suggest that introduction of Jersey genes via crossbreeding may lead to improvements in calf health and survival in Holstein herds.

K. A Weigel, C. Maltecca, H. Khatib, V. R Schutzkus, P. C Hoffman

Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume , , 01.03, 2006
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