2005 Student Research Conference:
18th Annual Student Research Conference


Quantitating Mothering Ability in Gelbvieh Cow-Calf Pairs
Staci B. Lewis
Dr. Glenn R. Wehner, Faculty Mentor

Mothering ability in cattle is usually indentified as a function of milk production of the dam. Our earlier observations indicated that easily observed behaviors might be used to create an index to rank cows on mothering ability and increase the chance of weaning a heavy, quality calf. Twenty-two Gelbvieh cow-calf pairs were observed for 30 min/day periods randomly from 3/15/04 until 8/30/04, for the parameters of distance from calf (DIST), minutes nursing (NURSE), visual contacts with calf (LOOK), and minutes grooming calf (GROOM). Lactation (MILK) were obatined by weigh-suckle-weigh method. EPD's for milk (MEPD) and MILK were correlated with other collect parameters to determine use in predicting varying degrees of mothering ability. Results supported the index of: Mothering Ability = LOOK + DIST + TALK. Higher numeric scorse indicate greater relative mothering ability when cows were observed at random 30 min. intervals throughout a grazing season (average 3-4 times). Higher indexing cows would be expected to excel in repeatedly weaning a heavier, quality calf.

Keywords: Beef Cattle, Mothering Ability, Index

Topic(s):Agricultural Science

Presentation Type: Poster

Session: 29-56
Location: OP Lobby & Atrium
Time: 1:15

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