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Monitor your herds mood as you move stock indoors for the Winter. Here's what to keep an eye out for

Animal behaviour

It is better to rely on animal behaviour principles instead of sheer force to restrain and control animals during handling. Fine-tuning the design of animal handling facilities will enhance animal welfare and reduce stress and injuries.


Herd instinct

Cattle prefer to remain in groups. Isolating individual cattle from the group (unless sick) causes stress and agitation and should be avoided. Keep back a companion animal if necessary.


Vision

Cattle are poor judges of detail and distance. They dislike dark or shadowy areas. Provide good natural and artificial lighting in and around handling facilities, particularly where the crush is.

Handling facilities under a roof overhang will have plenty of natural light. Use extra rooflights for facilities within buildings. Use extra double fluorescent lamps for artificial lighting.


Key facts

• Cattle are wary of any changes in their path, e.g. abrupt changes in floor material, outside visual distractions, etc.

• Cattle are less surefooted on downward slopes and prefer to move uphill.

• Excessive noise e.g. shouting, machinery and dogs can alarm them and cause unpredictable behavior.


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