Well-designed cattle operations are essential for the safe handling of livestock. With the proper equipment, cattle handlers can avoid potential injuries and keep the animals calm, secure, and controlled.
But there’s more to it than the right equipment.
While cattle movements can easily be predicted and moving them isn’t necessarily difficult, there are some things you should never do when handling your cattle.
By avoiding these six common mistakes, you’ll be able to keep yourself and your cattle safe while handling.
Never Handle Cattle Without a Plan
Before you attempt to move or handle your cattle, it’s essential to have a plan in place. This plan should take into account the size and number of livestock you have, as well as the available resources.
For example, you will need to identify a safe and secure area for the cattle and ensure that you have enough food and water for them before beginning your work. You never want to find yourself running back to the barn for items when moving cattle, as it could disrupt the entire process, cause chaos, and promote fear among your livestock.
Additionally, you will need to consider how you will move the cattle and what equipment you need. Without a plan, it is more likely that something will go wrong, and you could end up putting yourself and your cattle at risk.
Never Turn Your Back on Cattle
While cattle may seem docile, they are powerful animals that can pose a severe threat if mishandled.
One of the most important safety rules when handling cattle is to never turn your back on them. Always have one eye on the animals you’re working with in case of unpredictable behavior.
Cattle are often skittish and may startle easily, leading to unexpected charging. They could easily knock you down and trample you if you’re not paying attention. Even if they don’t mean to hurt you, their sheer size and strength can cause severe injury or even death. So always be cautious and never take your eyes off them when working with cattle.
Never Enter an Animal’s Blind Spot
When dealing with cattle, it is crucial to be aware of their blind spots. These are areas where the cattle cannot see you, and as such, you could startle them or cause them to react in a way you might not expect.
To avoid unpredictable behavior stemming from fear, always stand where your cattle can see you when handling them. This will help to keep them calm and prevent any potential accidents.
Never Strike Your Livestock
When handling cattle, it’s vital to never hit your animals out of anger. Striking cattle only creates more fear and can promote chaos. Plus, it makes it even more difficult the next time you have to move your animals because they know to fear you.
Instead, focus on applying the pressure and release technique or the most positive form of animal handling for your species and work with their instincts to train your cattle.
It’s always easier on everyone (and safer) if you can keep your animals calm and trusting of you and other handlers.
Never Make Sudden or Threatening Movements
When working with cattle, always move slowly and calmly. Sudden movements or loud noises can startle them, and they may become agitated or even dangerous.
Always give them plenty of space to move, and never force them to do anything they don’t want to, as doing so can prompt cornered animals to make rash and dangerous decisions.
With patience and understanding, you can safely and effectively work with cattle.
Never Handle Cattle Until You Understand Their Behavior
Most cattle are large and powerful animals; if you don’t understand their behavior patterns, you could easily get hurt.
Before doing anything around cattle, take the time to observe them and learn how they act. Once you understand their behavior, you can safely work around them.
To have a successful day of cattle handling, you must know how to behave around them before making any moves. Using the wrong handling techniques or equipment could cause you to injure your animals, which could be a financial loss for you and the cost of the injury.
We hope this blog post helps you avoid common handler errors so that you can be more profitable in your business and, most importantly, safer.