About the inconvenience of handling mixed-breed herds; aspects of social behavior as a potential source of stress and economic losses

Landaeta-Hernández, Antonio J., Ungerfeld, Rodolfo, Randles, Ronald, Littell, Ramon, Rae, D. Owen, and Chenoweth, Peter J. (2020) About the inconvenience of handling mixed-breed herds; aspects of social behavior as a potential source of stress and economic losses. Tropical Animal Health and Production, 52. pp. 743-751.

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The objective of this study was to assess aspects of the social behavior of a mixed-breed herd of beef cows as a potential source for stress and economic losses. Angus (AN; N = 10), Brahman (BR; N = 10), and Senepol (SE; N = 10) cows were assigned to two groups (N = 15 each containing equal breed numbers) on separate pastures. Agonistic interactions (win/loss) during feeding were recorded daily for 45 days. Dominance values were estimated as the proportion of individuals dominated to total herdmates. From this, individuals were placed into social categories based upon linear ranking as follows: dominants (D), intermediate (I), and subordinates (S). Breed influenced (P < 0.01) social category, with SE cows being dominants (P < 0.05) over AN and BR cows. Interactions between AN and BR cows were less (P < 0.0005) than interactions between AN and SE (53 vs 140, respectively). Within breeds, BR (152) and SE (182) cows had more (P < 0.0005) agonistic interactions than AN (107) cows. Although apparently influenced by breed, agonistic interactions occurred more frequently (P < 0.005) between social categories than within social categories (814 vs 310, respectively). Dominant cows were involved in more agonistic interactions with cows from different social categories than were intermediate and subordinate cows (P < 0.0005). However, intermediate (100) and subordinate (157) cows generated more (P < 0.0005) agonistic interactions within their own social category than dominant cows (53). It was concluded that, in mixed-breed herds, breed influences both social organization and agonistic interactions which could be considered as potential sources of stress and economic losses.

Item ID: 62009
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1573-7438
Keywords: Beef cattle, Cattle grouping, Management, Social behavior, Welfare
Copyright Information: © 2019, Springer Nature B.V.
Date Deposited: 09 Apr 2021 00:54
FoR Codes: 30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3003 Animal production > 300302 Animal management @ 100%
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