Cow Temperament and Reproduction
Cow Temperament and Reproduction Success
I’m KayDee Gilkey with today’s Open Range.
Many ranchers have those chute-rattling, wide-eyed females or mighty alert cows, as my dad describes them, in their herds. They seemed to be more aggressive than rest of the herd. Are they worth keeping?
Oregon State University animal scientists have been studying the correlation between temperament in a variety of breeds and the reproduction success rates for the past five years.
OSU Assistant Professor and Beef Specialist Dr. Reinaldo Cooke says that prior to the study the team recognized that the more aggressive cows had imbalanced hormones compared to calmer cows. The study took that observation further by testing whether it made a difference on reproduction rates as Dr. Cook explains
Cooke: “So we decided to investigate this subject and we actually found out indeed, independently of breed type -- whether you are talking about Angus cows, Brahma cows or Brangus cows -- those with more aggressive temperament they do have decreased pregnancy rates and reach puberty later compared to females with a good temperament.”
Dr. Cooke adds a word of caution before considering culling cows with aggressive tendencies as he says you need to determine the level of aggressiveness.
Cooke: “A little bit of temperament helps so they are able to survive and they are able to protect their offspring from predators, for instance. But too much aggressive is when you run into problems as far as reproduction.”