Canadian and Utah State University researchers evaluated the presence of a "trainer" cow on behavior, performance, health and feeding patterns of newly weaned beef calves. The calves generally weighed 500 to 650 pounds at weaning and were placed in pens with 10 to 14 pen mates. Trainer cows did not affect frequency or duration of bunk visits by the calves.

In these experiments, reported in the July 2000 Journal of Animal Science, calves penned with a mature cow were observed lying less frequently and appeared initially to avoid the cow at the feedbunk. These patterns, along with reduced gain during the first three days in the feedlot, indicate that under some conditions a foreign cow may even be detrimental to getting calves settled in the new environment.