Exercise and induced-parturition effects on dystocia and rebreeding in beef cattle

Author: Written by Bellows, R. A., R. E. Short, and R. B. Staigmiller

Journal: Journal of Animal Science, Jul 1994; 72: 1667 – 1674

Abstract: The study involved 44 primiparous, 2-yr-old heifers and 74 multiparous cows, 3 or 4 yr old, bred to a single Charolais bull. Variables were dam age (heifer, H; or cow, C), restricted (RE) or forced (FE) exercise for the last 90 d precalving, and natural (NP) or induced (IP) parturition. The RE dams were held in drylots; FE dams were on range until d 260 to 267 and walked 3.2 km/d for feed and water. Dams with IP received 10 mg of flumethazone on d 269 of gestation. Diets for FE and RE dams contained the same hay and grain, but FE dams were fed in amounts projected to give weight changes approximating those of RE dams. All dams were calved in drylots; thereafter, all pairs were maintained together on pasture to the end of the study. Exercise did not affect dystocia score or incidence, increased feed requirement 31% (P < .01), and gave a 14.8% higher (P < .05) pregnancy rate in the subsequent 45-d breeding season. We hypothesize the increased pregnancy may have resulted from a feed-endocrine effect related to body weight gain, body composition-metabolic changes, or subsequent higher feed intake.