Cattle Shrink When They’re Stressed

This article comes to us from South Dakota State University's iGrow, an online teaching platform the helps SDSU extension staff share information with farmers and ranchers. Translating Time's Impacts “This is the way we’ve always done it.” I need more than my fingers and toes to count how many times I’ve heard producers tell me this phrase. However, transportation and handling are not the times to maintain this mentality, especially when weather adds additional stress to the animals. Sources of stress (handling and transport) are additive in cattle. Cattlemen can have a positive impact on the amount of stress cattle experience by planning ahead, choosing the best time for required tasks, and allowing adequate time to get things done. Implementing low-stress handling techniques from the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program can minimize stress on both cattle and people, improve handling efficiency, and subsequently be beneficial to limit potential losses. Handling Handling alone equals SHRINK! Shrink is a direct indicator of the stress cattle experience. No one wants to see pounds disappear from their cattle after handling or moving them, because pounds are money. Shrink is directly impacted by the amount of time an animal is handled. Simply moving cattle from pasture to corrals or sorting from pen to pen for 30 minutes can de

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