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ARS Home » Plains Area » Lubbock, Texas » Cropping Systems Research Laboratory » Livestock Issues Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #291825

Research Project: Improving Immunity, Health, and Well-Being in Cattle and Swine

Location: Livestock Issues Research

Title: Evaluation of temperament scoring methods for beef cattle

item VANN, RHONDA - Mississippi State University
item RILEY, DAVID - Texas A&M University
item NEUENDORFF, DON - Texas Agrilife Research
item Sanchez, Nicole
item Carroll, Jeffery - Jeff Carroll
item WELSH, THOMAS - Texas Agrilife Research
item RANDEL, RONALD - Texas Agrilife Research

Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science Supplement
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/12/2013
Publication Date: 10/24/2013
Citation: Vann, R.C., Riley, D.G., Neuendorff, D.A., Sanchez, N.C., Carroll, J.A., Welsh, T.H., Randel, R.D. 2013. Evaluation of temperament scoring methods for beef cattle. Journal of Animal Science Supplement. 91(E-Suppl. 2): 381 (Abstract 289).

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The objective of this study was to evaluate methods of temperament scoring. Crossbred (n=228) calves were evaluated for temperament by an individual evaluator at weaning by two methods of scoring: 1) pen score (1 to 5 scale, with higher scores indicating increasing degree of nervousness, aggressiveness, etc.; groups of 3 animals) and 2) exit velocity (meters/second; as the time the animal traverses 1.83 meters upon exit of a squeeze chute). Temperament score was the average of pen score and exit velocity. In addition, these same calves were re-evaluated for temperament with two methods of pen score one week later: 1) individual pen score (1 to 5 scale) and 2) group pen score (1 to 5 scale; groups of 3 animals, same as weaning measure). Data were analyzed using mixed linear models with sire as a random effect. Age and sire breed of calf did not (P > 0.05) affect temperament measurements; however, sex of calf did influence group and individual pen score measurements (P < 0.05) and tended to influence weaning pen score measurement (P = 0.08). Heifers had greater pen score measurements compared to bulls and steers when scored as a group (3.87 +/- 0.12 vs 3.08 +/- 0.21 and 3.36 +/- 0.14, respectively), and greater than bulls when scored as individuals (3.69 ± 0.13 vs 3.19 ± 0.21 and 3.37 ± 0.14, respectively) and at weaning. Pen scores in groups were highly correlated (P < 0.0001) with individual pen score (0.81); weaning pen score (0.62), weaning exit velocity (0.54) and weaning temperament score (0.67). Residuals for these traits produced in the above models were also highly correlated. For residual correlation coefficients, pen scores in groups were highly correlated (P < 0.0001) with individual pen score (0.79); weaning pen score (0.61), weaning exit velocity (0.55) and weaning temperament score (0.66). In summary, 1) female calves have greater pen scores compared to male calves; 2) temperament score did not differ between group or individual pen scoring methods; and 3) results from these methods were highly correlated with each other and with results derived from other established methods of temperament scoring.