Introduction

The health status of livestock is influenced by many factors, including prenatal development, neonatal care, genetic disposition, and the environment in which the animal is housed. Managing environmental influences to maximize the health status of livestock is critical to both animal productivity and animal well-being. A major influence of the health status of livestock is how each individual animal is able to cope with the environment in which it is housed. The inability to cope with potential stressors in an environment predisposes livestock to succumb to disease by suppressing their ability to combat pathogens. Even in the best housing systems, livestock can be subjected to stress, and each housing system offers its own challenges to livestock and managers. For example, pasture systems may decrease stress by allowing livestock more space to escape aggression. However, this same system can place livestock under both heat stress and cold stress. In addition, two individuals managed in the same system can perceive the situation entirely differently one perceives the environment as stressful while the other does not perceive it as stressful. Therefore, it is important to manage each system and each animal on an individual basis to optimize the health of livestock.

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