Factors affecting neonatal and peripartum maternal metabolism and behavior in beef cattle and horses
Three studies were conducted to investigate perinatal changes in metabolism and behavior of beef cattle and horses. In the first study, effects of parity on perinatal nutrient availability assessed through calf size and vigor, placental characteristics, maternal and neonatal metabolic status, and colostrum quality were examined in beef cattle. Calves born to multiparous dams had greater birth weight and tended to have larger placentas. Protein was greater and lactose tended to be less in colostrum from primiparous dams. There was an interaction of parity x hour for all neonatal calf serum energy metabolites as well as BUN, creatinine, albumin, and insulin. In the second study, changes in neonatal foal and peripartum mare metabolites were examined during the 72 h after foaling. The majority of neonatal foal serum energy and protein metabolites, electrolytes, metabolic enzymes, and complete blood chemistry profiles changed over time, indicating the importance of age at sampling time during the first 72 h postnatally. Peripartum maternal plasma glucose, serum BUN, and serum non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) also changed within 24 h postpartum. The objectives of the third study were to determine changes in locomotion behavior prior to parturition in beef cattle, and the effect of parity on those behavioral changes. Changes in activity were detected during the 3 d prior to calving, with some parameters affected by parity. Lying bouts increased on the day prior to calving, with these increases primarily occurring during the 3 h prior to calving. This indicates that lying bouts may be useful for calving prediction technologies.