Association of Agrometeorologists

THI and health estimates of Jersey crossbred calves reared in different housing system in the lower Gangetic plains of West Bengal

S. RAI*, T.K. DUTTA, R. BEHERA, D.K. MANDAL, A. CHATTERJEE, M.K. GHOSH and M. KARUNAKARAN

Housing and socialization have always played a pivotal role on overall health and welfare of the young calves. Therefore, the study was undertaken to compare the performance of the calves when kept indoors in enclosures (Treatment, T) versus semi covered houses with provision of open space (Control, C), respectively. Calves in semi covered houses (C) was found to display profound results on faecal score (P<0.01) and body weight (P<0.05). Besides, the housing temperature in the treatment sheds was significantly higher (P<0.01) during the mornings in monsoon season although humidity was reportedly higher at all seasons; monsoon (P<0.01), post monsoon (P<0.05) and winters (P<0.01), respectively. The greatest THI were recorded in the month of July (76.72) in Control group (C) and August (79.67) in Treatment group. Besides with the highest THI (74.50±0.81, P<0.01) with elevated rectal temperatures (101.22±0.15 °F, P<0.05) was recorded in the treatment (T) calves. However, a positive significant correlation of rectal temperature with THI (r=0.434; P<0.01) and respiratory rate (r=0.339; P<0.01) was
observed in the experimental calves. The calves in C group had fewer incidences of respiratory illness and problems of diarrhoea when compared to the T calves. Therefore, maintaining fewer calves in semi covered houses with provision of open space was found to be beneficial on health, growth and housing environment of the calves.

Temperature humidity index, crossbred calves, heat stress