Theses and Dissertations


Harvey, Kelsey M.

Committee Member

Karisch, Brandi B.

Committee Member

Larson, Jamie E.

Committee Member

Martins, Thiago

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

Immediate Worldwide Access

Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Agriculture (Animal Science)

Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences


Raising beef females in drylots is gaining popularity because a more intensive management style facilitates adequate feeding for growth. However, drylots increase stocking density which has previously been shown to be stressful and impair reproductive development, whereas exercise has been shown to alleviate stress. Therefore, the objective was to determine if providing access to an exercise area would improve reproductive development of replacement beef heifers reared in drylots. Body weight, pedometer readings, and blood samples for plasma cortisol were collected weekly. Additional blood samples for genes associated with welfare, hair cortisol samples, and heifer temperament was assessed periodically throughout the trial. The results illustrate that providing heifers reared in drylots with high stocking density does not result in similar physiological or reproductive responses as heifers reared on traditional pasture. Thus, research is warranted investigating the impact of scheduled exercise on the reproductive development and welfare of drylot raised heifers.