Calm temperament is important
Monday, May 14, 2012
Posted by: Dairy Calf & Heifer Association
to you by the Dairy Calf & Heifer Association and the beef checkoff-funded Beef Quality Assurance program
There is developing evidence that temperament influences the
immune function of cattle.
handled or restrained, cattle with a more excitable disposition have been shown
to have greater levels of certain hormones that can suppress the immune system.
In addition to immune response, these cattle also have poorer growth
performance and carcass characteristics.
is why it is so important to use management practices that reduce the negative
influence of temperament on growth and productivity.
Animal Care & Quality Assurance (DACQA) Certification manual
provides information to help you handle and restrain animals in an appropriate
manner that minimizes stress. Here are some key points to consider:
- Handle cattle quietly and calmly.
Instead of electric prods, use plastic paddles, sorting sticks, flags or
streamers attached to long handles to quietly guide and turn animals. Utilize the
cattle’s natural flight zone and point of balance to move them (For more
information on flight zone and point of balance, see Section IV-D of the DACQA
- Keep facilities and equipment in
good condition to provide efficient movement and reduce stress when working
- Restraint equipment should quickly
and securely restrain the animal and allow for the quick release of the animal
upon completion of the procedures. Pens, chutes and headlocks should be
properly sized and kept clean and in good repair.
- When transporting cattle, move
them as quietly and patiently as possible to prevent stress or injury during
loading and unloading.
more advice, see Section IV-D of the DACQA
DACQA is a voluntary, national
certification program intended to enhance and demonstrate quality animal care
practices that assure food safety, quality and value as well as enhance
consumer confidence in the milk and beef products harvested from cattle on America’s
is the only national association dedicated to serving the dairy calf and heifer
industry. The association strives to provide information, education and access
to leading research and technology to its members and the calf and heifer
industry. DCHA’s Gold Standards III
also offers practical recommendations for humane handling of dairy calves and
heifers, from birth to freshening.