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Rearing veal calves with respect to animal welfare: Effects of group housing and solid feed supplementation on growth performance and meat quality



Rearing veal calves with respect to animal welfare: Effects of group housing and solid feed supplementation on growth performance and meat quality



Livestock Production Science 75(3): 269-280



This study aims to evaluate how rearing techniques that improve veal calf welfare affect growth performance and carcass and meat quality, by comparing both traditional rearing in individual stalls with group rearing in collective pens and exclusive milk feeding with maize grain supplementation. Eighty male calves were raised from 60 days-of-age (live weight 76.4+-5.5 kg) until slaughter (at 182 and 189 days-of-age). Both group rearing and maize grain supplementation significantly improved growth performance (final live weight: +7 kg in group-reared calves compared to individually reared calves; and +10 kg in maize-supplemented calves compared to exclusively milk-fed calves) and carcass conformation, with no differences in dressing percentage. Group rearing increased blood packed cell volume value. Neither the type of housing nor the feeding system significantly modified carcass or meat colour or the main physical and sensory traits of the meat. Carcass fatness and meat ether extract concentration were higher in the calves reared in individual stalls or supplemented with maize grain. Our results suggest that rearing veal calves in pens and providing solid feed supplements may improve growth performance without impairing carcass and meat quality.

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Accession: 011251415

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

DOI: 10.1016/s0301-6226(01)00319-0



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