Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science Supplement
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/1/1998
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: A total of 2,042 crossbred steers in 22 pens (at a commercial feedlot) were observed from 30 min prior to sunrise until 30 min after sunset on 5 d over a 3 mo period to quantify their behavior. Half the pens were fed on a once-a-day feeding regime (1X) (at 1230 h) and the others were fed three-times-per-day (3X) (at 0600, 0900 and 1200 h). All groups were fed to oas near to ad libitum as possible. One observer recorded the behavioral state of each animal every 15 min in each of four pens from a platform mounted on the top of a recreational vehicle. Behaviors recorded included: feeding, drinking, standing, lying, walking, agonistic, bulling and social behavior. The observer also noted any events that may have affected changes in behavior (i.e., weather, cowboy pen-riding, feed truck arrival, etc.). The 1X animals spent more time lying (P<.04) and exhibited more displays of social behavior (P<.02) than the 3X animals. The percentage of time engaged in feeding behavior did not differ between treatments. However, th date by treatment by hour interaction was significant (P<.001) for all behaviors suggesting that cattle fed 1 vs 3 times per day have different behavior patterns. When undisturbed by humans or weather changes, cattle fed 1X were less active in the daylight hours before feeding, thus not expressing an early-morning increase in feeding behavior or other activities. Variation in cattle management (human behavior) on different days led to variable cattle behavior.