Submitted to: New Mexico Livestock Research Briefs and Cattle Growers Short Course
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/1/2005
Publication Date: 4/7/2005
Citation: Mathis, C.P., Waggoner, J.W., Fredrickson, E. 2005. Low stress weaning and preconditioning considerations. In: 2005 Cattle Growers' Short Course Proceedings & Livestock Research Briefs, April 7-8, 2005, Alamogordo, New Mexico. p. 56-60. Interpretive Summary: Interpretive summary not required.
Technical Abstract: There are several sources of stress that can impact cattle throughout their lives. Sources of stress, like branding, weaning, shipping, and feedlot entry, are predictable events and to some extent can be managed. Stress management in cattle has two major components: (1) management of the cause of stress and (2) management of the quantified changes seen in the animals caused by stress (NRC 1996). The most stressful time in the life of most calves that follow the conventional marketing channels is from weaning through the first month in the feedlot. Granted, for some calves that are grown on pasture prior to entering the feedlot, there may be a period of relatively low stress while on grass. Nonetheless, steps can be taken by producers to minimize stress of calves prior to and during the weaning process and also prior to shipping and feedyard entry. Reducing stress influences the health and well-being of the animal, ultimately enhancing the potential for improved animal performance. This paper discusses concepts and strategies for weaning and preconditioning beef calves to minimize stress and improve calf performance.