Aug. 6, 2012 - "Imprinting" Beef Calves

Imprinting foals has been a standard practice on many horse farms since it was first described and advocated by Dr. Robert M. Miller, DVM. Dr. Miller promoted the technique of touching and handling foals shortly after birth as a way to make the animals less fearful of humans and thus contribute to the safety of vets and handlers who worked with imprinted animals.

A new study published in Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 139, pp. 42-49., reports that beef calves that received early gentle touching showed less avoidance behavior, lower cortisol levels in the blood, fewer stress related reactions at slaughter and increased meat quality.