Collecting Docility Scores for Angus BREEDPLAN: What Is It All About?

Blog | August 4th, 2019

In order for Angus BREEDPLAN to figure the Docility EBVs that it publishes, it must first collect docility scores for Angus cattle. This information describes what docility scores are along with the requirements for collecting and submitting them.

How to Test for Docility

You can test Angus docility in one of the following ways:

• Yard test is when the calves are placed in a small square yard individually with the handler trying to hold the calf in the corner for approximately 30 seconds.

• Crush test is when a calf or multiple ones are put up a race and held in a weight scale or crush for approximately 30 seconds with or without being head bailed.

*Note: While either way is acceptable, more cattle farmers use the crush method than the yard one.

Description of Docility Scores

As you test the animals by one of the above methods, you need to observe their behaviour and allot a score to each animal using the criteria below:

1 – Docile: Angus animals with this score have a mild disposition, are easy to handle, move slowly or stand still during handling are settled, act undisturbed, appear a bit dull, will not pull on the head gate in the crush and calmly exit the crush.

2 – Restless: To receive this score, Angus act quiet with some restlessness and are a bit stubborn during handling. Also, they may flick their tails pull on the head gate and promptly exit the crush.

3 – Nervous: Animals will still be manageable but with a nervous or impatient manner. They will struggle moderately with a bit of tail flicking and movement. In addition, they will repeatedly pull or push on the head gate and exit the crush quickly.

4 – Flighty: When Angus are out of control, quivery, jumpy and violently struggle they fit in this score. On top of all this, they may bellow, urinate and defecate, and continuously flick their tail during handling. Also, you may notice that they run the fence line fanatically and jump when penned individually, and they exit the crush wildly.

5 – Aggressive: Animals will exhibit similar behaviour as score four but with added agitation and aggression. They may even attack when handled one on one.

*Note: At times, animals fall in between two categories, and it is acceptable to score accordingly. For example, you can issue a 1.5 if your animal falls between one and two.

The Age That Angus Should Be Scored for Docility

For inclusion in the Angus BREEDPLAN, experts recommend that you score your Angus between the ages of 60 and 400 days. Also, it should take place at weaning or right afterwards. By using these parameters, you ensure that the calves have had a minimum of handling, and this makes the scores more accurate.

For additional information about collecting docility scores, consult with Southfork Angus. We are happy to share our expertise with you about raising Angus cattle.

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