Saturday, May 25, 2024
HomeLivestockBehaviorLow-Stress Animal Handling How-To Videos

Low-Stress Animal Handling How-To Videos

These videos come to us from Australia’s New South Wales Department of Education and Community. They do a great job of showing how to move animals quietly and easily. What I like about them is that they show the kinds of movements that you need to group and move cattle in pasture and then to work them in corrals and chute systems. And while they show cattle, these techniques are fine for any herd animals. The videos are short too, less than 10 minutes for all of them together, so grab a cup of coffee or a glass of something cold and take a break that will make your life easier down the road.

Mustering Cattle

This is the gathering phase in pasture with great reminders to think about what kind of animals you’re about to move and why. See how the riders move from side to side, left to right and back again behind the herd? That’s what lets all the members of the herd see you so that they keep moving forward. The side to side movement puts on pressure, and then releases it as you move on.  I don’t usually have a person in the front leading the way when I do this, but I can see how it could have helped me on a number of occasions.  Replace their motorcycles with your preferred mode of pasture transportation, and you’ve adapted this to your own place. (2:16)

Tablet readers, here’s your link.

Safety in the Yards

The beauty of this video is how it shows you “Parallel Movement” in action. When you move with the animals, they slow down. When you walk from head to tail parallel with the animal it speeds up an droves forward. They also do a great job of showing how walking toward a group of animals encourages them to curve around you and head for the gate.  I’ve never tried those little jumps up and down that you’ll see in this video, but again, it seems to work and I think I’ll try it next time.  Last but not least, take note of how the herders work together at gates to coordinate and protect each other from flighty animals. (3:24)

And the link for our tablet readers.

The Flight Zone

You’ve heard people talk about this. Now here’s a video that shows just what it means and how your behavior changes its size. (1:31) Note that cows move around us in a curve just like sheep.

The tablet readers’ link.

Moving Cattle in the Yards Without Noise or Contact

“Yards” are what we call “pens” in the U.S. and the “force” is the smallest pen just before they walk into the “race” or “alley.” The “crush” is our squeeze chute.  And that “livestock talker?” That’s the stick with a plastic bag on the end that some of us use to help us move animals. Now that you’ve got the language, you can see how easy it is to move the animals through. Again, note how they use parallel movements by walking with the animal to slow it down, or from nose to tail to speed up and make it move forward. (2:29)

Tablet readers, your link.

Probably the best thing about these videos is the emphasis in each of them on communicating with the people you’re working with so you’re all the same page. That small step alone will reduce the noise volume when you’re working livestock together.

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Kathy Voth
Kathy Voth
I am the founder, editor and publisher of On Pasture, now retired. My career spanned 40 years of finding creative solutions to problems, and sharing ideas with people that encouraged them to work together and try new things. From figuring out how to teach livestock to eat weeds, to teaching range management to high schoolers, outdoor ed graduation camping trips with fifty 6th graders at a time, building firebreaks with a 130-goat herd, developing the signs and interpretation for the Storm King Fourteen Memorial trail, receiving the Conservation Service Award for my work building the 150-mile mountain bike trail from Grand Junction, Colorado to Moab, Utah...well, the list is long so I'll stop with, I've had a great time and I'm very grateful.

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