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Effects of road transportation or droving on the weight and metabolism of young bulls

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This study evaluated the effects of the mode of transportation on weight and metabolism of young bulls, which are generally transported by two systems: droving and truck. This experiment consisted of two phases: transportation and refeeding and involved transportation by droving and truck. Fifty young Nellore bulls were separated in equal numbers in both groups, droving group and truck group. In the transportation phase, animals were moved, in a 640-km journey. The refeeding phase consisted of 84 days and commenced after the animals arrived at the fattening farm. The effect of the transportation system on animals’ weight, metabolic hormones, and serum biochemistry was assessed after 28, 56, and 84 days. During the transportation phase, animals in the droving group lost 10.11 kg and animals in the truck group gained 13.1 kg. The truck group showed 20.5 kg of weight gain at the end of the refeeding phase. The highest triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) concentrations were observed on days 0 and 60 in the transportation phase in both droving and truck groups. The serum cortisol concentration was higher in the droving group than in the truck group on day 56 of the refeeding phase. The IGF-I concentrations were higher during the refeeding phase in the droving group than in the truck group. Our results showed that transportation by droving leads to increased weight loss and reduced further weight gain compared to transportation by truck and that serum concentrations of T4, cortisol, and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-I) hormones are altered by the transportation system.

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The authors are grateful to the funding from Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Cientifico e Tecnológico (CNPq), the daily and annual reports of the transportation by droving in the state from Agência Estadual de Defesa Sanitária Animal e Vegetal-MS (IAGRO-MS), Maurílio Meireles and his team for droving the animals, and Agricultural NPP Ltda. for the animals and infrastructure necessary for the development of this project. We also thank PhD. Eunice Oba for allowing the use of the Laboratory of Endocrinology from the Department of Animal Reproduction and Veterinary Radiology at the Veterinary and Animal Science College from UNESP, Botucatu campus.

Conflict of interest

None of the authors has a financial or personal relationship with other people or organizations that could inappropriately influence or bias the paper entitled “Effects of road transportation or droving on the weight and metabolism of young bulls.”

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Correspondence to Gumercindo Loriano Franco.

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D’Oliveira, M.C., Souza, M.I.L., Corrêa Filho, R.A.C. et al. Effects of road transportation or droving on the weight and metabolism of young bulls. Trop Anim Health Prod 46, 1447–1453 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11250-014-0663-9

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  • Compensatory gain
  • Metabolism
  • Refeeding
  • Transportation
  • Weight loss