Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Low-Stress Livestock Handling

To many people "Low-Stress Livestock Handling" is nothing new. It is a way of life. There is a certain finesse and pride in being able to handle cattle quiet and smooth. If a person understands the mentality of a cow aka the fight or flight response, the rest comes easily.

I was working cattle this weekend with a young man about 13 years old. He was trying to push the animals from behind up the snake into a chute. He didn't understand why the animal wouldn't go forward, or why I started at the front and pushed the entire bunch forward. I slowly introduced him to the concepts of flight zone, quarters, and cattle handling. Being a 13 year old about 10% of it stuck but he has potential... Oh there's a pretty butterfly. :)

I also took away his hot shot or electric prod during this time. He paid more attention to body placement and movement without a prop. By the end of the day, cattle were moving smooth through the snake and would only balk at the chute. I explained this wasn't our fault. The chute had open sides and there were several people that would distract the cow from seeing her opening.

It is amazing how cattle can be worked without sparky if you understand evolution and the ingrained mechanisms of a flight response.

1 comment:

  1. I just found your blog! I applaud you for teaching a young boy that it's possible to work cows without hotshots. It stresses the animals and isn't necessary (usually). It's good to start teaching kids young because they are so impressionable. In the meantime, we try to keep older people (who refuse to change) away from our chute!