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production systems, just one segment of the beef cattle industry, private business and therefore must have profit
cattle behaviors are
actions and posture
feedlot cattle welfare refers to
- the 'quality' of a bovines experience
- (well-being is more holistic and harder to measure)
What does 'normal' cattle behavior show feedlot stock attendants?
- shows that cattle have contentment
- via bedding down, grooming, feeding, social interactions
Abnormal cattle behaviors are intuitively used by feedlot cattle stock attendants to recognise...
- hunger, discomfort, distress, disease
- pull sick based on behavior
Categories of feedlot behaviors
- 1. Feeding behaviors
- 2. social behaviors
- 3. interactions with their enviro (eg bedding down)
- 4. interactions with their handlers (ie flight zone)
- 5. many others
why separate males form females in feedlots?
to prevent stress level
Clinical signs are evidence of....
- some feedlot cattle behaviors are clinical signs (most are not)
- cattle that have adequate feed available but will not eat
- seen occasionally in in feedlots
- stock attendants know which cattle these are based on behavior
- "shit eaters" "straw eaters"
- these cattle will not eat the feed presented for behavioral reasons
feedlots were built for the average cow and not picky eaters so this may result in death
problems with non eaters
- this behavior can really cause problems on backgrounding rations (lower E) in cold weather
- (non eaters = behavioral issue)
Gross pathology in "non-eaters" that go on to die
- serious atrophy of fat- easiest to see on the base of the heart, perirenal, in the stifle joint, within the mesentery, and seem to get a "gelatinous" or "wet" look everywhere
- small dark, firm liver
- often have thickened wall of small intestine
- 'white' does not necessarily mean fat
- absence of gross lesions indicative of pneumonia, BVD, enteritis, histophilosis, impaction, bloat, etc...
- nothing in their stomachs and intestines (possibley bedding)
- even when dead they often look just like new thin cattle
why are non eaters hard to pick out clinically in pens?
- -rough, long haircoat so don necessarily look thin
- -first few days- months might not necessarily look diff from cohorts
- not lame, not depressed, not sick
- keep up with cohorts
- may hid from pen checkers by sticking heads in feedbunk
- often occur in groups
- the first 1 or 2 deaths may be the tip of the iceberg
- they will gain wt quickly once they start to eat
- in warm weather they can survive in this state for months
why do non eaters die?
- for behavioral reasons they aren't taking in enough E in the cold weather
- they arrive thin and cont to lose weight
- if they die, it is usually from hypothermia
recommended solutions for non-eaters
- be able to recognise them through PM and gross pathology
- remember this is a behavior and not a feed problem directly
- pulling and treating for sickness is unlikely to help
- pull the animals behind by about 10DOF and put them in a smaller pen with new pen mates and no straw
- bed with shaving or no bedding at all
- feed them on the ground with grain, hay or whatever- just get them to eat as much as possible
- bunk train them at the same time