Cattle Handling

(Conrad) Welcome back to Farm Factor. In this segment we feature Justin Waggoner, an Extension Specialist and Associate Professor from Garden City, Kansas, as he talks about cattle handling tips. Take a look. (Justin) I think the first thing just kind of what I call four central truths or tenants about stockmanship as it applies to beef cattle. The first one of those would be that cattle want to see their handlers. They want to see us. A lot of times as we walk into a pen of cattle, you’ll see cattle kind of acknowledge our presence. And that’s important to realize. Another one of those is cattle want to go around and past us is the second one. We can use that to handle cattle and use our body position to help them go in the direction that we want to go. The third one I would say, or that I use, is cattle want to be with other cattle. We can use other cattle to draw cattle into a direction that we want them to go. The fourth one is the central truth here is that cattle tend to want to go back the way in which they came from especially when we pressure them. And we’re gonna use those four common themes basically to guide us in a lot of the things we do with handling cattle. The key fundamental thing with stockmanship really when we’re dealing with cattle what we want to do is essentially make what we want them to do their idea. Probably the most effective means of communication that we have with cattle is sight. And so understanding how cattle see is really a fundamental concept. There’s a lot of different diagrams out there. One that’s really common was put out by the BQA program. Most people have seen it. It has kind of a circle around the steer, with a couple of blind zones that would be illustrated in that diagram. Two of the most common ones would be directly behind the animal. The other one would be right in front of the animal. I would actually modify that diagram just a little bit. I think there’s actually three areas that cattle and maybe horses, don’t see as well in. That third one would be essentially right down between their front legs. If you…you’ll see cattle a lot of times take a second look or change their position to take a better look at something in that particular area. The other thing that diagram illustrates is something that we most commonly refer to as the flight zone. And this is pretty well established in cattle handling circles. You’ll see it referenced a lot as well as point of balance. For me the flight zone is really important to realize where that is, but I’m probably more concerned in helping folks realize that there’s actually something I call the pressure zone, and other cattle handling experts out there will refer to it that way as well too. And that’s kind of the area where we first begin to apply some pressure to that animal. The flight zone for me is that point where the animal has maybe made a decision that it’s time for them to leave. And so we have to be careful about applying pressure, but not so much that the animal has really,

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