Easier cattle handling | TSLN.com

Easier cattle handling

Nancy Johnson

About 200 people attended a cattle handling seminar by one of the world’s most accomplished and well-known animal behavior experts, Temple Grandin, on June 28 at the 777 Buffalo Ranch south of Rapid City, SD.

The event was sponsored by the Rapid City Chamber of Commerce, Ag United, Dakota Territory Buffalo Association, Farm Credit Services, EquiMedic, and the SD Dept of Ag. Ranchers, feedlot owners, cattle hands and media received useful tips on making cattle handling an easier task and how small things can make a big difference in the welfare of the cattle.

Grandin, being autistic, says she sees in “pictures,” which is similar to cattle’s vision sensors. She pointed out that cattle have dichromatic vision, meaning they have two color sensors instead of three, like primates and birds. Contrary to popular belief, cattle cannot see the color red. Instead they see only two main colors: bluish-purple and yellowish-green. Anything yellow stands out and makes cattle balk.

Cattle can see contrasts, Grandin said, which means shadows, waving objects and changes in contrast cause serious distractions when moving cattle. Things that move or hang down will also spook them.

To determine distractions, Grandin suggested watching livestock’s ears, as they act like a radar and point out what is distracting them. Cattle will also not move from a light place to a dark place, so lighting has to be properly installed. The ideal amount of light in a facility is that of a bright cloudy day.

Grandin discussed the most common, and easiest, distractions to fix in cattle handling facilities are:

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• Chute entrance is too dark;

• reflections on floor (wet or shining metal);

• air blowing in their face;

• chains hanging down;

• sudden jerky movements;

• filling the crowding pen more than half full;

• people screaming or hollering, and

• coats or other objects hanging on the fence.

Solid panels strategically placed to block the cattle’s vision from seeing people helps cattle movement, too. Even just placing cardboard on the back half of the squeeze chute to block their view of the person running the chute can make a world of difference, Grandin said.

Non-slip flooring is also very important, as an animal will panic if they slip and fall down.

Grandin stressed that electric prods should only be used at the squeeze chute entrance when needed and then put down. Most importantly, Grandin said, “the people have to be calm.”

About 200 people attended a cattle handling seminar by one of the world’s most accomplished and well-known animal behavior experts, Temple Grandin, on June 28 at the 777 Buffalo Ranch south of Rapid City, SD.

The event was sponsored by the Rapid City Chamber of Commerce, Ag United, Dakota Territory Buffalo Association, Farm Credit Services, EquiMedic, and the SD Dept of Ag. Ranchers, feedlot owners, cattle hands and media received useful tips on making cattle handling an easier task and how small things can make a big difference in the welfare of the cattle.

Grandin, being autistic, says she sees in “pictures,” which is similar to cattle’s vision sensors. She pointed out that cattle have dichromatic vision, meaning they have two color sensors instead of three, like primates and birds. Contrary to popular belief, cattle cannot see the color red. Instead they see only two main colors: bluish-purple and yellowish-green. Anything yellow stands out and makes cattle balk.

Cattle can see contrasts, Grandin said, which means shadows, waving objects and changes in contrast cause serious distractions when moving cattle. Things that move or hang down will also spook them.

To determine distractions, Grandin suggested watching livestock’s ears, as they act like a radar and point out what is distracting them. Cattle will also not move from a light place to a dark place, so lighting has to be properly installed. The ideal amount of light in a facility is that of a bright cloudy day.

Grandin discussed the most common, and easiest, distractions to fix in cattle handling facilities are:

• Chute entrance is too dark;

• reflections on floor (wet or shining metal);

• air blowing in their face;

• chains hanging down;

• sudden jerky movements;

• filling the crowding pen more than half full;

• people screaming or hollering, and

• coats or other objects hanging on the fence.

Solid panels strategically placed to block the cattle’s vision from seeing people helps cattle movement, too. Even just placing cardboard on the back half of the squeeze chute to block their view of the person running the chute can make a world of difference, Grandin said.

Non-slip flooring is also very important, as an animal will panic if they slip and fall down.

Grandin stressed that electric prods should only be used at the squeeze chute entrance when needed and then put down. Most importantly, Grandin said, “the people have to be calm.”

About 200 people attended a cattle handling seminar by one of the world’s most accomplished and well-known animal behavior experts, Temple Grandin, on June 28 at the 777 Buffalo Ranch south of Rapid City, SD.

The event was sponsored by the Rapid City Chamber of Commerce, Ag United, Dakota Territory Buffalo Association, Farm Credit Services, EquiMedic, and the SD Dept of Ag. Ranchers, feedlot owners, cattle hands and media received useful tips on making cattle handling an easier task and how small things can make a big difference in the welfare of the cattle.

Grandin, being autistic, says she sees in “pictures,” which is similar to cattle’s vision sensors. She pointed out that cattle have dichromatic vision, meaning they have two color sensors instead of three, like primates and birds. Contrary to popular belief, cattle cannot see the color red. Instead they see only two main colors: bluish-purple and yellowish-green. Anything yellow stands out and makes cattle balk.

Cattle can see contrasts, Grandin said, which means shadows, waving objects and changes in contrast cause serious distractions when moving cattle. Things that move or hang down will also spook them.

To determine distractions, Grandin suggested watching livestock’s ears, as they act like a radar and point out what is distracting them. Cattle will also not move from a light place to a dark place, so lighting has to be properly installed. The ideal amount of light in a facility is that of a bright cloudy day.

Grandin discussed the most common, and easiest, distractions to fix in cattle handling facilities are:

• Chute entrance is too dark;

• reflections on floor (wet or shining metal);

• air blowing in their face;

• chains hanging down;

• sudden jerky movements;

• filling the crowding pen more than half full;

• people screaming or hollering, and

• coats or other objects hanging on the fence.

Solid panels strategically placed to block the cattle’s vision from seeing people helps cattle movement, too. Even just placing cardboard on the back half of the squeeze chute to block their view of the person running the chute can make a world of difference, Grandin said.

Non-slip flooring is also very important, as an animal will panic if they slip and fall down.

Grandin stressed that electric prods should only be used at the squeeze chute entrance when needed and then put down. Most importantly, Grandin said, “the people have to be calm.”

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