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Animal Behavior and Welfare
Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences 2010;23(7): 952-959.
https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.2010.90276    Published online June 21, 2010.
Growth, Behavior, and Carcass Traits of Fattening Hanwoo (Korean Native Cattle) Steers Managed in Different Group Sizes
S. G. Li, Y. X. Yang, Y. J. Rhee, W. J. Jang, J. J. Ha, S. K. Lee, Y. H. Song
This study was conducted to evaluate growth, behavior and carcass traits of fattening Hanwoo (Korean native cattle) steers managed in different group sizes. A total of 48 animals, 6 months of age, were allocated to one of three group sizes and the experiment was conducted from 12 to 30 months of age. Groups were balanced for weight and the group sizes consisted of 4, 8, or 12 steers which were named 4sG, 8sG and 12sG, respectively. When animals were 12 months of age, initial fasted body weight (BW, 304.51 12.40 kg) was measured. All animals were housed at a constant space allowance of 8.82 m2 per animal, and a feeder and drinker were provided per 4 animals. The whole fattening stage was divided into three phases: phase I (from 12 to 18 month of age), phase II (from 19 to 24 month of age), and phase III (from 25 to 30 month of age). Steers managed in 12sG showed low (p<0.05) growth rate and feed conversion rate (FCR) in phase I and phase II when compared to other treatment groups. However, this difference was not observed for the whole fattening phase (p>0.05). Steers managed in 4sG had a thick (p<0.05) ultrasound back fat thickness at 15 and 18 months of age. However, group size had no effect on meat yield and quality traits of area and marbling score. Animals managed in 8sG yielded a better meat grade of “A” than the “B” grade in other treatment group sizes. Lean color, fat color, firmness and maturity scores did not differ among group sizes. Hanwoo steers housed under 12sG spent less time on eating concentrate, relevant higher eating rate, less frequency of allogrooming, and more time on walking (p<0.05). It could be concluded that a large group size retarded growth rate and back fat thickness in the fattening stage, which was mainly focused on 15 and 18 months of age.
Keywords: Hanwoo Steers; Group Size; Performance; Behavior; Meat Quality

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