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Measurement of Temperament in Beef Cattle and its Relationships to Animal Production Characteristics

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Title: Measurement of Temperament in Beef Cattle and its Relationships to Animal Production Characteristics
Author: Jones, Tara
Department: Department of Population Medicine
Program: Population Medicine
Advisor: Haley, DerekMiller, Stephen
Abstract: This thesis is an investigation of the outcomes and relevance of three different temperament assessment techniques in beef cattle. In the first study, temperament of feedlot beef cattle (n = 708) was assessed using three techniques, chute temperament score, chute exit speed and exposed eye white percentage (EW), and the resulting outcomes were compared. Repeatability of these techniques was investigated at one farm location; repeated over two consecutive days. Lastly, the accuracy and repeatability of the technique used to determine EW was investigated. Results showed some significant, but low correlations between temperament assessment techniques; chute temperament score and chute exit speed (0.26561; P < 0.0001); chute temperament score and EW (0.13660; P = 0.0008); and chute exit speed and EW (-0.01443; P = 0.7340). The correlations between repeated measures varied depending on the technique used. Chute exit speed measured on day 1 and day 2 had the highest correlation among the 3 techniques (0.6605; P <0.0001), suggesting this may be the most consistent temperament assessment technique. Repeated measures of chute temperament score and exposed EW had low correlations between consecutive days (0.3656; P < 0.0001) and (0.1040; P = 0.0495), respectively. The correlation between repeated tracings of the same exposed EW image was 0.66129 (P < 0.0001) and 0.89157 (P < 0.0001) for image 1 and image 2, respectively. In the second part of the study, the temperament assessments from the three techniques for the same group of cattle were compared to select live animal body composition parameters, production efficiency traits and meat quality characteristics. Results indicated that as exposed EW increased by 1 percent, backfat decreased 0.0284 mm (P < 0.20); as chute exit speed increased by 1 m/s, marbling score increased by 0.349 (P < 0.0001); as chute temperament score increased by 1, depth of the loin muscle increased 0.742 mm (P < 0.005). As chute temperament score increased by 1, ADG increased by 0.181 kg/day (P < 0.05); and as exposed EW increased by 1 percent, ADG increased by 0.031 kg/day (P < 0.05). There was no significant relationship found between RFI or shear force and any of the three temperament assessment techniques. Overall findings indicate some temperament assessment techniques are related to specific parameters of interest, and in general, more agitated or reactive temperament cattle may take a longer time on feed to achieve desired backfat thickness for finishing, but have higher marbling scores and muscle depth at time of assessment.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/7569
Date: 2013-09-24


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