Effects of temperament on reproductive performance of Bos taurus heifers enrolled in the 7-day CO-Synch + controlled internal drug release protocol. Academic Article uri icon


  • Cattle temperament significantly impacts production traits such as reproduction. The objective of this study was to assess the effects of temperament on pregnancy rates to fixed-timed artificial insemination (TAI) in Bos taurus beef heifers. A total of 297 Angus influenced heifers from 3 different locations were evaluated for temperament based on chute score and exit velocity on the first day of the estrus synchronization protocol (d-9) and classified by temperament type based on temperament score (calm 3 < excitable). Pregnancy status was determined by transrectal ultrasonography approximately 40 d after TAI. Hair from the tail switch was collected at d-9 and at d0 (TAI) for cumulative cortisol evaluation. A subset of 43 heifers from location 3 had blood samples collected at all handling events and evaluated for cortisol concentrations. Overall, 71% of heifers were classified as calm whereas 29% as excitable. Pregnancy rates to TAI were reduced (P = 0.042) in excitable heifers compared to calm heifers (36% vs. 55%, respectively). Mean concentration of cortisol in the hair was reduced over time (P < 0.001) from d-9 (3.5 0.3 pg/mg) to d0 (1.74 0.3 pg/mg) in all heifers, regardless of temperament. In addition, excitable heifers had increased circulating concentrations of cortisol when compared to calm heifers in all handling events (P = 0.015). More interestingly, despite of temperament, concentrations of circulating cortisol were reduced as the protocol events progressed, with greater cortisol concentrations on d-9, intermediate on d-3, and lesser on d0 (P = 0.031). Therefore, the present study demonstrates that heifer temperament has negative effects in pregnancy rates to TAI programs. However, according to blood cortisol concentrations, no chronic stress response was detected due to cattle handling for the TAI protocol. In fact, blood cortisol concentration was reduced between the initiation and completion of the protocol, indicating that heifers were acclimated to handing. These results support the adoption of acclimation protocols and proper cattle handling as a strategy to increase fertility of heifers that are exposed to TAI.

published proceedings

  • Transl Anim Sci

author list (cited authors)

  • Dias, N. W., Timlin, C. L., Santilli, F. V., Harvey, K. M., Cooke, R. F., Clark, S., Currin, J. F., & Mercadante, V.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Dias, Nicholas W||Timlin, Claire L||Santilli, Felipe V||Harvey, Kelsey M||Cooke, Reinaldo F||Clark, Sherrie||Currin, John F||Mercadante, Vitor RG

publication date

  • October 2022