The Influence of Dam Weight, Body Condition and Udder Scores on Calf Birth Weight and Preweaning Growth Rates in Beef Cattle

  • Paputungan, U. (Department of Animal Production, Faculty of Animal Sciences, Sam Ratulangi University) ;
  • Makarechian, M. (Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta Edmonton)
  • Received : 1998.04.21
  • Accepted : 1999.08.16
  • Published : 2000.04.01


Records of weight, age, body condition at calving and udder characteristics scores of 425 beef cows and birth weights and periodical weights of their offspring from birth to weaning were analyzed to study the effect of body weight, condition and udder characteristic scores of dams on birth weight and Preweaning growth of their offspring. Dam's body condition (fat reserve) at calving were scored on a scale of 1 to 5 (1=extremely thin and 5=extremely fat) and dam's udder characteristics were scored on a scale of 1 to 7 (l=udder well attached with small teats and 7=at least one quarters not functional). Dams were from three distinct breed groups and were mated in single sire mating groups within each breed group for 45 days. Within each breed group and year, the dams were classified into high, medium and low based on their weights at the time of parturition. The data were analysed using covariance analysis. In general, calves born to heavier dams were heavier at birth and had higher rate of Preweaning growth. The effect of dam's body condition score on the calf birth weight was not significant. However, cows with average body condition score of 2.5 or 3.0 gave birth to calves that had higher pre weaning growth rates up to weaning than those born to calves with higher body condition score. The udder characteristics score did not affect calf birth weight as expected; however, cows with udder score of 3 (udder well attached with large teats) produced calves with higher preweaning growth rate than those with smaller teats. Based on the results, it can be concluded that maintaining animals with average body condition and weight would result in more efficient calf production. In addition, cows with well attached udder and large teats would provide a better maternal environment for Preweaning growth rates of their calves.


Dam Weight;Body Condition;Udder;Calf Preweaning Weight