Other| Volume 14, ISSUE 1, P62-67, March 1998

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Forage Feeding Behavior of Hereford and Hereford Crossbred Steers During the Summer1

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      Two experiments were conducted to study the feeding behavior of steers consuming forage diets during periods of high ambient temperature. In Exp. 1, nine Hereford and nine Hereford × Brahman F1 steers were allotted to each of three pastures in each of 2 yr to study breed effect on behavior. In Exp. 2, nine Hereford × Angus steers were alloted to each of six treatments in each of 3 yr to compare the effect of various conditions on behavior. The six treatments were: pasture with and without shade, an 80% forage diet fed in dirt pens with and without shade and in a partially covered concrete pen, and green chopped Coastal bermudagrass fed in a partially covered concrete pen. Steers were observed and their activity recorded every 2 h from 0600 to 2000 h at 14-d intervals for 140 d beginning in early May. The percentage of Hereford and Hereford × Brahman F1 steers did not differ (P>0.47) due to time of day for grazing, lying, standing, or walking; therefore, breeds were pooled for further analysis. The average percentages of steers in these activities were 47, 32, 20, and 1%, respectively. In Exp. 2, treatment × time of day interactions existed for the percentage of steers feeding, lying, and standing. The average percentage of steers feeding was greater on pasture than on the 80% forage diet (P<0.05). Shade had no effect on average percentage of steers feeding, lying, or standing on pasture or fed the 80% forage diet; but shade did change the feeding pattern. Differences in activity due to observation dates were small and did not appear to be related to temperature or weather. These results suggest that cattle of British breeds and Brahman crossbred cattle can have similar feeding behavior when fed forage diets at high ambient temperature and that shade may not change the average percentage of steers feeding, lying, or standing during the daylight hours when the observations were made.

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