Studies have shown that animals with calmer dispositions are more productive both on the ranch as well as in the feedyard and ultimately exhibit higher carcass values and greater tenderness. The AGA is currently in the process of developing a temperament EPD to help better select for a more desirable disposition. Below are guidelines on how to disposition score and what information should be reported to the Association on the registry system.
When to Score:
The ideal time to score is when the calves are still within their weaning contemporary group. This scoring could take place at branding, during the weaning process, or even a short time after weaning when the producer is making the final evaluation of animals prior to them leaving the herd. Scoring at this time gives a better unbiased set of scores across all sires represented in a group of calves.
How to Score:
Below are the Beef Improvement Federation’s Guidelines for Disposition Scoring. This system is a simple 1 to 6 score where animals that score a 1 are the most docile and a 6 is the most aggressive. This docility scoring system is designed to subjectively evaluate difference in disposition when animals are processed through the squeeze chute.
The docility scores below are designed to subjectively evaluate the differences in disposition when animals are processed through the squeeze chute. Scores should be collected while calves are restrained with headgates but without having motion restricted by squeeze.
Score 1 – Docile. Mild disposition. Gentle and easily handled. Stand and moves slowly during processing. Undisturbed, settled, somewhat dull. Does not pull on headgate when in chute. Exits chute calmly.
Score 2 – Restless. Quieter than average, but may be stubborn during processing. May try to back out of chute or pull back on headgate. Some flicking of tail. Exits chute promptly.
Score 3 – Nervous. Typical temperament is manageable, but nervous and impatient. A moderate amount of struggling, movement and tail flicking. Repeated pushing and pulling on headgate. Exits chute briskly.
Score 4 – Flighty (wild). Jumpy and out of control, quivers and struggles violently. May bellow and froth at the mouth. Continuous tail flicking. Defecates and urinates during processing. Frantically runs fence line and may jump when penned individually. Exhibits long flight distance and exits chute wildly.
Score 5 – Aggressive. May be similar to score 4, but with added aggressive behavior, fearfulness, extreme agitation, and continuous movement which may include jumping and bellowing while in chute. Exits chute frantically and may exhibit attack behavior when handled alone.
Score 6 – Very Aggressive. Extremely aggressive temperament. Thrashes about or attacks wildly when confined in small, tight places. Pronounced attack behavior.
Source: 9th Edition Beef Improvement Federation Guidelines.