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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Research Project: INFLUENCE OF TEMPERAMENT ON THE HEALTH, PRODUCTIVITY, AND OVERALL WELL-BEING OF YOUNG CATTLE

Location: Livestock Issues Research

Project Number: 6208-32000-006-01
Project Type: Specific Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Aug 01, 2005
End Date: Jul 31, 2010

Objective:
The objective of the research associated with this Specific Cooperative Agreement is to evaluate the potential influence of cattle temperament on the health, productivity, and overall well-being of cattle during critical stages of the production cycle. The research will include, but not be limited to, evaluating the potential influence of temperament on the regulation of the growth, stress, and immune systems of cattle. The key periods of production to be addressed will include prior to, and immediately following, production stressors such as transportation, vaccination, and weaning.

Approach:
Calves will be selected based on an assigned temperament score measured at weaning. Temperament score will be calculated based upon an average of exit velocity (EV) and pen score (PS). Exit velocity is an objective measurement that records the rate (m/s) at which cattle exit a working chute. Pen score is a subjective measurement based upon an animal's reactivity to a human entering the pen. Following temperament classification, calves will be subjected to various management practices such as transportation, vaccination, and weaning, which are known to cause stress in livestock and have negative impacts on health, productivity, and well-being. Animal health and productivity will be monitored prior to and following these management practices to determine if an animal's temperament is associated with or predictive to how that animal copes with and recovers from the particular stress. Small-scale studies will be conducted utilizing various stress and immune challenge models in controlled environments and in transportation studies to mimic common production practices.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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