Date of Graduation

5-2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Animal Science

Advisor

Brown, A. Hayden

Reader

Powell, Jeremy Grant, 1975-

Second Reader

Rosenkrans, Charles F

Abstract

The objectives of this study were to measure how quickly cattle shed their winter coat in the sub-tropical climate of Arkansas. As well as, to understand the role age may play on cattle shedding efficiency in spring and summer months, in conjunction with the relationship between mother hair coat and calf sex. Angus based commercial beef cattle (n = 224) were observed over a five-month period in 2012. Once monthly, at approximately 28-day intervals, cattle were evaluated for shedding on a scale from 1 to 5. A score of 5 indicated the cow/heifer had a full winter coat and a score of 1 represents a slick, short summer coat. Genotypic and phenotypic data were collected and analyzed in PROC LOGISTIC of SAS. Shedding was found to occur relatively quickly. In March, all cattle still had their winter coats; however, by July, most cattle displayed fully shed, slick coats. Between May and June 98% of the cattle had reached their initial shedding, and by July all cattle had shed at least 50% of their winter coat. In this study, older cattle were found to shed their hair coats at a faster rate than younger cattle. The data collected also showed that the likelihood of a cow or heifer producing a heifer calf increases as the length of their hair decreases. Producers seeking cattle that can maintain homeostasis better in the summer months should score their cattle’s hair coat shedding according to the scale in this study to discover which cattle shed more efficiently. The ones that shed their coats earlier in the year could have a better chance to produce heifer calves than those who shed their coats at a slower rate. This may mean that cattle that shed more efficiently might have had a higher artificial insemination frequency rate because x-sorted semen was utilized. Key words: hair coat shedding, heat stress, cattle

Keywords

hair coat shedding, heat stress, cattle

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