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Causes and Effects of Stillbirths on Days Open and Cow Herd Survival in Holstein Friesian Cows

DOI: 10.4236/ojvm.2023.133003, PP. 23-32

Keywords: Stillbirth, Culling, Calving Difficulty, Days Open

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Abstract:

The aim of this retrospective study was to investigate the causes and the effects of stillbirth on the number of days open and cow herd survival in subsequent lactation of Holstein Friesian cows. A total of 1371 calvings from research dairy farm were used. Stillbirth in calves was defined as the death of a fetus before or during calving at full term (≥270 days of gestation) or within 24 hours after calving. During the period from January 2006 to December 2017 a percent of 95.04% of the calvings were with live calves, and 4.96% of the calvings were stillbirths. The major causes of stillbirth identified were: calving difficulty, parity of the cows, and sex of the calves at calving. A five point scale was used to assess calving difficulties, and numbers 1, 2 and 3 were considered unassisted calvings and number 4 and 5 as assisted. The twin calvings were not taken into account. Days open were measured as days from first calving to conception, and cow herd survival from first calving to culling or death. Trend test and multivariate data analysis were used. The findings revealed that primiparous cows were at higher risk of having stillbirths compared with multiparous cows. Cows that were at calving male calves were at higher risk of having stillbirths compared with cows that had female calves at calving. Also, cows with assisted calving were at higher risk of having stillbirths compared with cows with unassisted calvings. Cows with stillbirths had a increase mean of days open with 32 days. Cow herd survival was better in the cows with live calves at calving compared with the cows that had stillbirth at calvings.

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