The aim of the study was to evaluate three measures of cattle temperament which incorporate tests of human presence and separation from herdmates. The study utilised 134 heifers and 137 steers which were grazed as two single-sex herds. The cattle were rising 2-year-old, and were of either 3/4 Limousin x 1/4 Jersey or 3/4 Jersey x 1/4 Limousin breed-type. Flight distance was measured for each animal in the paddock and in the handling yards. A test of animal sociability measured the time taken by an animal to move to a pen containing herdmates. Each test was conducted on three occasions at intervals of one month. In contrast to the other two measurements, yard flight distance was highly repeatable with a repeatability coefficient of 0.51 between separate tests for heifers and steers. The repeatabilities for the paddock flight distance and sociability test were 0.36 and 0.34, respectively. In conclusion, the yard flight distance test represented an effective and repeatable measure of cattle response to humans.

AD, Fisher, CA Morris, and LR Matthews

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 60, Hamilton, 214-217, 2000
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