Transportation: Loading calves on and off a stock trailer is a stressful event. Even moves of less than ten minutes still involve the "on-off" event. Best management suggests that we plan housing to minimize the number of these events.
Weaning calves: Weaning-induced stress may result in cortisol release for as long as a week. Look for reduced rates of gain for the week post-weaning. Alternatively, we may see pneumonia in calves five to seven days after weaning.
Housing: Just moving from individual to group housing is stressful. This change may be separated from a move to a new barn by having pens that convert from individual to group size. In addition, every subsequent group change will add stress among transitioning heifers.
Management tasks: Dehorning and vaccinating both add more stresses, although for a relatively short time.
Stacking stressors: Alone, each of the listed stressors is a threat to calf health and growth. When stressful events happen at the same time, the risk is multiplied for respiratory illness and lower growth rates.
Adapted from Calving Ease, April 2006, Sam Leadley, Attica Veterinary Associates