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Disbudding and dehorning practices for pre-weaned dairy calves by farmers in Wisconsin.

J. Saraceni

Events

06-23-2020

Abstract:

224
Disbudding and dehorning practices for pre-weaned dairy calves by farmers in Wisconsin.
J. Saraceni*1, J. Van Os2, C. Miltenburg3, E. Nelson4, D. Renaud1, C. Winder1, M. Akins2, T. Ollivett5, T. Kohlman6, H. Schlesser6, B. Schley6, S. Stuttgen6, J. Versweyveld6. 1Department of Population Medicine, University of Guelph Guelph, ON, Canada, 2Department of Dairy Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison Madison, WI, 3Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Guelph, ON, Canada, 4Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Guelph Guelph, ON, Canada, 5School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison Madison, WI, 6Division of Extension, University of Wisconsin-Madison Madison, WI.

The objective of this study was to understand common dehorning and disbudding practices in Wisconsin to better target extension education programming to encourage adoption of best practices. A survey was distributed in 2019 to dairy farmers and calf raisers, both online and at extension events. Of all Wisconsin respondents (n = 188), producers reported milking a mean of 486 cows and had a mean of 110 heifer calves being fed milk. Respondents could select more than one method of disbudding or dehorning if used on their calves. A total of 126 producers (67%) reported using caustic paste for disbudding, with application most commonly occurring on the day of birth (64; 51%) or between 1 d to 1 wk of age (52; 41%). Hot iron disbudding was reported by 112 producers (60%) and disbudding occurred most commonly at 8 weeks of age or older (39; 35%) followed by between 4 to 8 weeks of age (38; 34%), and between 1 to 4 weeks of age (30; 27%). Of 40 producers reporting surgical amputation methods, 37 (93%) reported disbudding at 8 weeks of age or older. Response rate for the question regarding pain control was 99% (187/188). A total of 85 (45%) respondents reported using pain control, with 28 (33%) using a combination of medications. When each medication was evaluated individually, 40 respondents reported using a local anesthetic (21%), 65 reported using an NSAID (35%) and 10 reported using a sedative (5%). Response rate for questions regarding changes to pain control was 90% (170/188). Over half of the respondents (96/170) reported their use of pain control medications had changed in the last 10 years, with the most common cited influence of change being their veterinarian (66; 68%), and public perception/consumer demand (28; 29%). Results of this study demonstrate a proportion of surveyed farmers continue to perform disbudding without pain mitigation. These findings suggest a need for targeted extension education programming to encourage the implementation of best practices for pain-control and to motivate farmers to perform disbudding at an earlier age.

Keywords: survey, welfare, anesthetic.

Biography: Julia is completing her Master of Science (MSc) in Epidemiology at the Ontario Veterinary College in Guelph, Ontario. Her interest in dairy welfare motivated her to pursue a Master's degree after graduating from Western University in London, Ontario with a Bachelor of Science (BSc) Honors Specialization in Biology.