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Haematology of veal calves reared in different husbandry systems and the assessment of iron deficiency
  1. DD Welchman,
  2. OP Whelehan and
  3. AJ Webster
  1. Department of Animal Husbandry, University of Bristol School of Veterinary Science, Langford.


Calves were reared for veal and fed milk replacer either alone or with straw or dry feed of varied iron content. Measurements of haematology and iron biochemistry were made at the start of the rearing period and before slaughter at 16 to 20 weeks of age. When the total dietary iron intake rose to approximately 12,500 mg (an average of 112 mg/dl, approximately 60 mg/kg dry matter) haemoglobin concentration reached a mean value (+/- sd) of 12.4 +/- 1.1 g/dl, similar to control calves. There was no further increase in haemoglobin when more iron was fed, indicating that there was sufficient iron in the diet for normal erythropoiesis. The borderline of iron deficiency anaemia at 16 to 20 weeks of age was defined as a haemoglobin concentration of 9 g/dl and a saturation of total iron binding capacity of 10 per cent. There was evidence of diurnal variation in serum iron concentration in calves fed in a periodic manner. The feeding of straw to veal calves did not prevent iron deficient erythropoiesis.

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