Chute behavior of cattle handled using low-stress handling techniques

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Lierman, Shay
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Animal Science

The Department of Animal Science originally concerned itself with teaching the selection, breeding, feeding and care of livestock. Today it continues this study of the symbiotic relationship between animals and humans, with practical focuses on agribusiness, science, and animal management.

The Department of Animal Husbandry was established in 1898. The name of the department was changed to the Department of Animal Science in 1962. The Department of Poultry Science was merged into the department in 1971.

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Bovine Respiratory Disease is a multifactorial syndrome, which negatively impacts performance and welfare among cattle. BRD is associated with viral and bacterial pathogens; but other causal factors include management techniques and environmental stresses. Low stress handling methods use the natural behavior and innate responses of cattle to minimize negative consequences potentially associated with handler interactions. Acclimation methods familiarize cattle with their environment and, therefore, decrease stress. It was hypothesized that cattle that were acclimated and handled with LSCH techniques would vocalize less and display calmer behavior in a squeeze chute compared to cattle that had not been acclimated and had been handled conventionally. Cattle were assigned to one of two treatments by pen, five control pens and five LSCH pens. Video was recorded, then scored using an ethogram for frequency of vocalizations, chute behavior, exit behavior and whether a calf fell upon exiting. There was no observed difference in vocalization frequencies between control and LSCH (2.04±0.27 and 2.63±-0.47, respectively; p=0.37), nor observed difference in chute scores (p=0.10), exit scores (p=0.39), and probability of falling upon exit (p=0.25). Our results demonstrated no observed effect of acclimation or LSCH on chute behaviors on Day 3 after arrival at the feedlot.