Phenotypic relationships between residual feed intake, feeding behaviour and temperament in Western Canadian beef cattle

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Lippens, Lindsey
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Feed costs have led the cattle industry to examine the merit of selecting cattle for inputs (feed efficiency) rather than for outputs exclusively (growth). Residual feed intake (RFI) has become a preferred measure of biological efficiency. Feeding behaviour traits (feeding event duration, frequency, head-down time, length and eating rate) and temperament may provide insight into the variation in feed efficiency. Feeding behaviour, RFI (n = 868) and temperament (n = 58) were examined using five classes of beef cattle. Cattle were sorted into low, medium and high RFI groups. Feeding behaviour traits were moderately (-0.21 to 0.56; P < 0.05) related to RFI. Bulls fed a grain-based diet spent longer periods lying down than bulls fed a forage-based diet. No relationships (P > 0.1) were observed between RFI and bull temperament, indicating that temperament is not correlated with RFI and selecting for low RFI cattle will not negatively impact temperament.
Residual feed intake, Feeding behaviour, Temperament, Feed efficiency, Beef cattle