Low-stress weaning and preconditioning considerations

TitleLow-stress weaning and preconditioning considerations
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsMathis C.P., Waggoner J.W., Fredrickson E.L.
Conference NameCattle Growers' Short Course Proceedings and Livestock Research Briefs
Date PublishedApril 7, 2005
Conference LocationAlamogordo, New Mexico
ARIS Log Number179225
Keywordscattle, improved animal performance, low-stress, minimize stress, preconditioning, weaning
AbstractThere are several sources of stress that can impact cattle throughout their lives. Sources of stress, like branding, weaning, shipping, and feedlot entry, are predictable events and, to some extent, can be managed. Stress management in cattle has two major components: (1) management of the cause of stress and (2) management of the quantified changes seen in the animals caused by stress (NRC 1996). The most stressful time in the life of most calves that follow the conventional marketing channels is from weaning through the first month in the feedlot. Granted, for some calves that are grown on pasture prior to entering the feedlot, there may be a period of relatively low stress while on grass. Nonetheless, steps can be taken by producers to minimize stress of calves prior to and during the weaning process and also prior to shipping and feedyard entry. Reducing stress influences the health and well-being of the animal, ultimately enhancing the potential for improved animal performance. This paper discusses concepts and strategies for weaning and preconditioning beef calves to minimize stress and improve calf performance.