Managing a large herd of cattle requires brawn and a little understanding of the psychology of animals. Stress is something that affects cattle as much as it does humans. Below are ways to reduce animal stress when handling and managing your herd.
First Cattle Meet and Greets
Begin handling cattle with a positive experience in mind. Your handlers should be calm, firm, and provide no more physical contact than necessary. Your cattle will walk away with a good feeling about human interaction. You will have fewer problems over time, and each experience should be better than the last. Cattle will base much of their overall opinions on this first meeting. Make is positive for future benefit.
Use Proper Pressure Points for Desired Movement
Using solid points of balance techniques and corrective measures for bullish and flight behaviors will keep you on a stress-free track with cattle. Stay aware of the effects your posture and position can signal in body language to your cattle. It is common for them to overtake a situation if they feel the handler is weak and inattentive.
Allow Cattle Time to Adjust to Changes
Much like people, cattle can become somewhat stressed by sudden and drastic changes. The movement to a new enclosure, an introduction of new members to the herd, and intense weather events can have cattle in an uproar. Allow them some space and time to adjust to whatever has and is happening.
Reduce Excessive Noise
Keeping the area as quiet as possible as you try and work the cattle is going to benefit you in many ways. If heavy equipment or vehicle engines are running, it will be difficult to hear the cattle and for them to listen to you. It can be dangerous not entirely to understand the emotions of the cattle at that moment. Loud engines can startle a herd and cause a sudden stampede. Calm and quiet is the way to go.
Maintain Ultimate Control
You may not always feel like you are in control of the situation, but do not let the cattle feel any hesitancy in your actions and thoughts. Do your best to keep control of every situation for the safety of humans and cattle alike.
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