The effects of space allowance during transportation and duration of a mid-journey lairage period on measurements of stress, injury, dehydration, food restriction and rest in young calves were assessed during and after transport. Groups of calves were transported for two 9-h journeys (at a space allowance of either 0·375 or 0·475 m2 per calf) separated by a mid-journey lairage period of either 1 or 12 h. Non-transported calves were offered milk replacer and drinking water either at the usual times or only at the same times as the transported calves.
During transport, transported calves spent significantly less time lying down and had a greater plasma cortisol concentration than control calves. Under the driving conditions used, increased space allowance was not associated with greater injury or loss of stability. The duration of the mid-journey lairage was not an important factor; the shorter lairage time, giving the calves sufficient time to receive milk replacer but little opportunity to rest, had no major detrimental effects on the variables used to assess welfare. Although there was little evidence that transport affected immunological variables, there was some evidence that it adversely affected the health of the calves post transport.