Temperament can be an indicator of feedlot performance and carcass merit in beef cattle



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Kansas State University. Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service


Cattle producers historically have selected for docile temperaments simply for management convenience because calmer animals are conducive to safe environments for their peers as well as their handlers. As many producers would acknowledge, however, there seems to be a relationship between temperament and cattle health, and calmer cattle tend to frequent the working chute for treatment of disease less often. Positive correlations have been found in cattle between temperament traits (chute scores, pen scores, and chute exit velocities) and cortisol concentration in the blood, suggesting that more excitable cattle are easily stressed (Curley et al., 2006; Cooke et al., 2009). Curley et al. (2007) also found that easily excitable animals sustain elevated cortisol concentrations for a longer duration and have greater pituitary and adrenal responses following a stressor than calm cattle. Temperamental cattle have significantly higher mean temperament responses at all points (Oliphint, 2006). Higher basal serum cortisol concentrations may suggest that easily excitable cattle are chronically stressed (Curley et al., 2007), possibly resulting in a compromised immune system, illness, and decreased fat and protein deposition. This study was conducted to further investigate the relationships between cattle temperament (measured by chute score and exit velocity), immunological factors, and a range of economically relevant performance traits.



Beef, Temperment, Cortisol, Carcass traits