Date of Award:

5-2017

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences

Committee

Jerrad F. Legako

Committee

Chuck E. Carpenter

Committee

Kara J. Thornton

Abstract

Fetal programming is a relatively new and quickly growing field of research in the livestock industry. The concept of fetal programming is simply defined as the effects a change in maternal nutritional intake has on offspring, whether it be a genetic or physical change. The intention of this study was to specifically look at the effects of nutrient restriction of cows during the second trimester of gestation on the growth and performance of the resulting calves.

In this study, thirty-two cows of predominantly angus influence from the Utah state university herd were chosen, naturally bred to a pure bred angus sire, and then allocated into two treatments: maintenance and restricted. These groups were treated uniformly for first and third trimesters of gestation, while in the second trimester, they were managed in a way that the maintenance group maintained a greater level of body condition and weight compared with the restricted group. Calf growth and performance was measured and compared for effects of fetal programming.

Previous studies in beef found positive effects on carcass characteristics. However, little work has been done to ensure that fetal programming is not detrimental to calves early in life. Though this study did find that nutrient restriction resulted in more excitable cattle, no negative effects caused by programming were found in growth and performance of the offspring.

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