Dominance in Cattle

Dominance in Cattle

Lab 7: Testing Dominance in Beef Cattle

Abstract: Behavioral testing with cows is not often done and not much research has been done as far as information on behavior or the ways that cows interact with each other. Dominance is a behavior which is often tested within animals to find different correlations between the animals and how they relate to each other. In order to test the dominance in cows with correlation to their age and size, a group of beef cows varying in age and size have been selected.

Introduction: The dominance within cattle is known to be that the older animals are generally dominant over the younger animals because of sheer size; since they are older, they will have more mass and more weight behind them. The relevance between dominance and actual age however, are unknown. If two animals are the same size and weight, but differ greatly in age, which animal will become the more dominant?

Materials and Methods: For this test, there is a group of 30 registered Herefords that will be used. There are 15 young cows, which have been bred for their size but are only two years old, so not to their potential size. There are also 15 old cows that are all around the age of ten, but are composed of the old, short style Hereford so that they don’t have height to them, and therefore size and mass equivalent to the new-style, young stock. Use gates to make a chute that is fifteen feet in length and only wide enough for one cow at a time to fit through. In order to test the dominance, place an animal that is older against a younger cow that is similar in size. Whichever animal comes out of the chute facing head first is the dominant animal. Repeat this test with an animal of the older age group with a younger animal comparable to its size.

Results: The old cows have the letter ‘g’ before their ID number, indicating the year that they were born, and the young animals have a ‘p’.

Test Number Old Cow Young Cow Dominant Test Number...

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