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Improve Cattle Handling for Better Health and Welfare

Livestock farmers want their animals to be healthy and productive, so they do what they can to reduce stress to the animal that can compromise both. Moving and handling cattle can be an enormous source of stress for animals and people alike and has the potential to result in injury and losses for both.

For livestock, stress has been shown to have negative impacts on health and performance. Reducing stress during handling can improve productivity; stress lowers conception rates and reduces both immune and rumen function, increasing chance of illness, and decreasing weight gain. Understanding livestock behavior and identifying possible problems in handling can improve the handling process and minimize negative impacts.

When purchasing a handling system, buyers need to consider how the animal could react to different components. Shadows or moving distractions, non-solid walls, and noisy systems will result in animals that are reluctant to enter. An easier, more natural entry for animals will result in less handler frustration, improving the overall interaction and experience and making the animal more likely to enter later.

Handlers should have the goal of minimizing stress on the herd to decrease chance of illness and improve welfare. To minimize risks while getting the job done, it’s important to have good handling using the best equipment.

Cattle handling demonstrations at Ag in MotionTM will showcase the latest in equipment for livestock producers to easily and safely move their animals. Stampede Steel Inc., 2W Livestock Equipment, Morand Industries, Tuff Livestock Equipment, Paysen Livestock Equipment, and Hi-Hog Farm and Ranch Equipment Ltd. will each set up and demonstrate the use of handling equipment every day during Ag in Motion.

“Last year the cattle handling demonstration was a huge draw for attendees,” says Michael Hargrave, Ag in Motion Livestock Co-ordinator. “Using live animals in the demonstration makes a big difference in seeing the variations between systems and educating livestock producers in real-world situations.”

Each company will have live animals to show off the features of their equipment side-by-side and will demonstrate  the chutes side-by-side. Attendees can see different handling systems in action as each company showcases how their system can improve handling on an operation – decreasing human and animal stress and frustrations for a more positive experience. Correctly handling cattle will result in low-stress, healthier, more productive animals as well as a safer, more effective and efficient work environment for handlers.

The Cattle Handling Demonstration will take place in Livestock Central daily at 11:00 a.m. during Ag in Motion.

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