Housing environment – an integral feature of heifers coming out of puberty.
On a farm call outside Listowel today, farmer presented two batches of heifers which had been split when they went in for winter housing. The strongest heifers were placed in a poor housing environment where there was insufficient cubicle spaces and a slatted environment. The second batch of heifers had excellent cubicle spaces, rubber matting on slats, and a similar feeding space per cow. The client wanted to assess these maiden heifers for suitability to use sexed semen. One third of the heifers in the poor housing environment had not come out of puberty whereas the heifers in the excellent housing environment and on the same diet were in all cases cycling. The client informed me that he divided the heifers in such a way that the stronger heifers were in the poor housing environment which further exasperates the risk of delayed puberty with poor housing environment