Monitoring of the physiological and behavioural stress response of Holstein bulls following group mixing

S. Weyl-Feinstein, Ala Orlov, M. Yishay, R. Agmon, Machteld Steensels, Vered Sibony, Ilan Halachmi, Ido Izhaki, A. Shabtay

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Holstein bulls destined for beef production which are unfamiliar with each other are routinely mixed prior to marketing. This practice constitutes a stressful event which affects both animal welfare and meat quality. We questioned whether mixing 34 days before marketing could induce a stress response that would affect the animal performance and pH of meat. For the experiment, 22 Holstein bulls (at a mean age of 7.35±0.07 months and mean weight of 285.5±90 kg) were raised in groups of three and were mixed 34 days prior to marketing to form two groups (n1=13, n2=9). The daily rumination and activity of the bulls were monitored for 20 days before and 33 days post mixing (DPM) and bulls were weighed 1 day before mixing (DBM), 3 and 33 days DPM. Plasma concentrations of non-esterified fatty acid (NEFA), and anti-oxidative capacity in bulls were measured pre- and post-mixing (PM). After slaughter, pH measurements were taken at the m. longissimus thoracis et lumborum (LTL) 24 h after the carcasses were chilled. The results demonstrated that mixing had significantly decreased the calves’ weight gain by 6.2±2 kg at 3 DPM. Daily rumination decreased twofold 24 h PM (P
Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationPrecision livestock farming applications
EditorsIlan Halachmi
Place of PublicationThe Netherlands
PublisherWageningen Academic Publishers
ISBN (Electronic)9789086868155
ISBN (Print)9789086862689
StatePublished - 2015


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