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Research Project: Use of Animal Genetics and Diversified Forage Systems to Improve Efficiency and Sustainability of Livestock Production Systems in the Southern Great Plains

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Title: Effects of acclimation on cattle response to humans while being handled

item HEMPHILL, CORBAN - Oklahoma State University
item REUTER, RYAN - Oklahoma State University
item Neel, James
item GOODMAN, LAURA - Oklahoma State University

Submitted to: American Society of Animal Science Southern Section Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/15/2019
Publication Date: 11/28/2020
Citation: Hemphill, C.H., Reuter, R.R., Neel, J.P., Goodman, L. 2020. Effects of acclimation on cattle response to humans while being handled. American Society of Animal Science Southern Section Meeting. 98(2):61-62.

Interpretive Summary: Abstract only

Technical Abstract: The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of previous human interaction on the behavior of beef cows while they are being handled. To achieve this, 84 F-1 Angus x Brahman cows were randomly assigned to one of two human interaction treatments. The positive human-animal interaction group (P) was subjected to daily contact with a herdsman (on foot) for 15 minutes and was fed supplement by the herdsman. The control group (N) was checked daily and fed from a vehicle, with no direct human interaction. Each acclimation procedure was replicated in 2 pastures/herds (n=16 to 26 cows in each herd). During routine processing times for these herds (d 0, 256, and 317), herds were gathered from their pastures and temperament was assessed. Chute and alley scores were assigned to individual animals by the same trained observer and ranged from 1 (calm) to 5 (aggressive). Chute exit velocity was also measured. Temperament variables were evaluated with ANOVA as a split plot with acclimation procedure in the whole plots and pasture as the whole-plot experimental unit, and processing time in the split plot. Neither human interaction (P=0.99) nor time (P=0.13) affected chute exit velocity. Chute score increased through time (P=0.01) but was not affected by human interaction (P=0.70). Alley score was not affected by human interaction (P=0.32) or time (P=0.81). Neither time nor the specific type of human acclimation we implemented affected cattle temperament, indicating other traits may be more important. Alternatively, different acclimation procedures may be more effective to improve cattle temperament. Keywords: Livestock handling, Behavior, Acclimation