Lets start at the beginning• Hi my name is Emma Kay, and I am currently completing Certificate 11 in agriculture as part of my HSC and traineeship.• During my first year of TAFE I have to complete many topics including fencing, assistance in calving, identifying and treating weeds and caring for livestock.• My favorite topic was Handling Livestock.• My presentation will show you the keys to success in handling livestock.
Cattle breeds• Firstly we were introduced to the cattle breeds.• The breeds in Australia fit into the following categories: 1. Bos Taurus - these breeds originated in Europe. 2. Bos Indicus - these breeds originated in Asia. Bos Taurus Bos Indicus
Dairy breeds• World wide there are 11 dairy breeds. We have 7 in Australia. Ayrshire Illawarra Guernsey Holstein Aussie Red Brown Swiss Jersey
Identify stock by age groups Calf Cow Bovine Female bovine who has had a calfNew born female or male Cattle Yearling Springer Bull Calf 12 months over Male bovine Pregnant bovine in the period from 3 weeks to calving
Mustering OrganisationA number of factors need to be taken into account when planning to muster(i.e. bring together into a mob) stock, to ensure success. • Number of stock in paddock. • Condition of stock. • Type of stock. • Paddock types. • Time of day. • Weather. Looking at type of stock - cows and calves need to be handled with great care, if they are separated they get stressed and are hard to deal with so it is important to give them time to find each other and regroup.
Understanding cattle• Cattle have almost 360 degree panoramic vision. So its hard to approach them without them knowing.• Cattle usually face the handler when approached.• However they have a narrow binocular field but can discriminate most colours.• This means they tend to baulk at shadows or bright spots and arent keen to move towards dark areas.
Hints for the stock person• Watch what is going on around you.• Have a plan.• Show enthusiasm and pride in your work.• Harmonise with fellow workers.• Work as a team.• Make sure you know the paddocks on the property.• Report to team leader anything that seems unusual.• If you don’t understand directions, ask again until it is clear.
Entering the paddock• Be observant.• Make sure you see the cattle before they see you.• Don’t make unnecessary noise.• When the cattle see you give them time to see where you are.• Then move into position and be ready to move if they move.• Always show stock water when putting them into a new paddock.• When handling stock anticipate because prevention is better than cure.
Learning from the experts• Have you heard of “Cattle Whisperers”• They do exist• Let me tell you about Bud Williams and his techniques
Cattle Whispering – Magic?• Bud Williams – the Cattle Whisperer is a well known cattle handling expert from Alberta, Canada• What Bud does has been called magic.• But its not really magic - its interpreting animal behaviour and understanding the cause of behaviours & underlying motivations for them.• Lets have a look at how it works Image: http://www.cartoonstock.com/
Basic InstinctAnimals have 3 basic instinctive behavioural patterns to help themavoid predators.They are:1. The flight zone and the tendency to face people and other perceived threats.2. The point of balance at the shoulder and its effect on movement direction.3. The tendency to bunch together when they are threatened. Source: www.grandin.com/B.Williams
1. FACE your FEARTurning and facing apotential threat enables theanimal to keep track ofwhere the predator is.
Flight Zone• Flight distance is an important concept in livestock handling. It can be described as a circle of safety around an animal. If handler stands here animal will If handler stands retreathere animal will not retreat
Knowing When & How• When a person penetrates the flight zone, the animal moves away. A good stock handler knows when to penetrate this zone and when to retreat so that the cattle move quietly in the desired direction.• Cattle move most effectively if they can see the handler at all times. Attempting to drive animals by standing directly behind them is often not efficient because they turn and look at the handler. A beast is best driven when the handler is situated at a 45–60° angle from a line perpendicular to an animals shoulder. This same principle applies to driving mobs of cattle.• The flight distance varies with the tameness of the animal. The distance may be up to 200–300m for feral cattle, but for feedlot cattle it may be only 1–5m. Very tame cattle are difficult to move because they no longer have a flight zone.• If a handler shouts and excites cattle, this can enlarge the animals flight zone.
• The point of balance behaviour pattern aids a grazing animal in escaping from a predator that is chasing it.• An impala chased by a lion will run In the opposite direction when a lion passes it shoulder. This manoeuvre helps the antelope to escape.
WALK DON’T RUN• This same principle is also used to quietly move cattle both on pastures and through cattle races.• The main difference is that the cattle are moved at a WALK instead of at a RUN.• The animal will move FORWARD when a handler inside its flight zone passes the shoulder going in the OPPOSITE direction of desired movement.
Point of Balance cont..• Looking from a side view, this means behind the shoulder.
Point of Balance cont..• From the front, you can deflect cattle sideways by moving either side of an imaginary line drawn through the middle of the animals length.
3. Safety in NumbersThe third behaviour pattern is the tendency of cattle to bunch together when there is a threat.• A handler using either the windshield wiper pattern or straight zig zag pattern can induce cattle to quietly bunch.• The handler must NEVER circle the cattle.• The windshield wiper pattern MUST be only a slight arc. This is much lower stress than chasing cattle and acting like an attacking predator.• By mimicking the initial stalk of a predator the cattle will come together.
Stimulus-response relationship.• the "stimulus" is a person who simulates predator "stalking behaviour", which elicits predatory "avoidance behaviour" in the cattle.
StalkingThe "stalking"behavioursimulated bythe person issimilar to thebehaviour of apredator suchas a lion or awolf.
Predatory behaviourFirst, the predatorlocates the herd. Then itbegins a slow survey ofthe herd by walking in acircular direction aroundthe herd looking forweak or old animals.The behaviour of thepredator circling theherd causes anxiety inthe animals.
Hard wired behaviour• The cattle become uneasy over an impending attack by the predator and begin to loosely bunch together.• This is an instinctual HARD WIRED behaviour that is wired into the animals brain.• This uneasiness and slight anxiety comes before the fear and flight elicited by an actual attack.• When the method is first used it triggers instinctual bunching behaviour.
• The more a person works with the cattle, the calmer they become and instinctual bunching behaviour is gradually replaced with calm learned behaviour.• The handIer moves at a normal walking speed (as a stalking predator would) and there should be no noise such as whistling, yelling, or whip cracking.• Handler movements must be steady and deliberate with no sudden jerky movements or arm waving.
Step 1 Gathering and Loose Bunching:This is the most critical step.• The majority of the herd must be loosely bunched before any attempt is made to move the herd. This is accomplished by applying very light pressure on the edge of the collective flight zone to induce the animals to move into a loose bunch.• The handler should locate the majority of the herd and start making a series of wide back and forth movements on the edge of the herd. You should move in the pattern of a giant windshield wiper.
The arc of the zig zagmovement must notexceed a quartercircle.DO NOT CIRCLEAROUND the cattle.The movement shouldbe straight or a veryslight arc.
• The handler can induce the rear animals to begin to move by giving them a "predatory" stare. This simulates the initial stalking behaviour of a predator sizing up the herd.• The handler should keep continuously moving back and forth.• If you stop moving and linger too long in one animals blind spot it may turn back and look at you. The handler should continuously walk back and forth and move enough to the side that the lead animals can see him.
Stragglers will catch up• Cattle that are off to one side of the pasture will be attracted as the herd moves into a loose bunch.• Animals hidden in the bush will be drawn out because they seek the safety of the herd.• Do not chase stragglers.
Step 2Initiating Movement: When the majority of the herd has come together into a loose bunch, increase pressure on the collective flight zone to initiate movement in the desired direction.
The “good” and the “bad”• The handler continues the back and forth movements but presses closer to the herd to induce movement. This will cause the herd to move forward and begin to string out.• Handlers need to differentiate between "good" and bad" movement of the cattle. When cattle have "good" movement, they can easily be driven in the desired direction. They will look like a group of animals walking to water or making some other voluntary group movement on a large pasture.• In a large group of animals, "good" movement starts with one animal and additional animals will gradually follow.• "Good" movement entices the other animals to follow, and bad movements prevents other animals from following in an orderly manner.
Anxiety not fear• It is important to remember before attempting to use these methods that it is anxiety that makes this technique work and NOT fear. VS
When it all goes pear shape• when anxiety turns to fear – flight takes over and we all know stampedes are not a pretty sight Image: www.wyomingtalesandtrails.com/
Weeding out the bad• There are two types of "bad" movement; running, cutting back, and other panic induced movements, animals stop moving as an orderly stream in the desired direction• Good movement can be disrupted when the animals are attempting to locate the handlers position. This is a natural anti-predator behaviour of prey species. They want to know where the predator is and what its intentions are.
Animals will turn and look ata person or a dog that iseither in their blind spotbehind their rear or is outside their flight zone.Handlers should notremain more thanmomentarily in any individualanimals blind spot.Walking through the blindspot will not cause a
SQUEEZE /RELAXTo make the group move pressure has to be applied to boththe collective flight zone and individual animals within themoving herd. When an animal or a group responds to thehandlers pressure on the flight zone, the handlers mustIMMEDIATELY stop forward movement or change directionof movement to relieve pressure. This rewards the animal formoving in the desired direction and the animal is more likelyto continue that movement. When the desired movementslows down, the handler must apply pressure again.
Building RelationshipsEvery time youare working youranimals you aretraining them. Youcan train them tobe easy to handleand have goodmovement or youcan train them tobe difficult andhave badmovement.Its your call.
Step 3 Controlling Movement Direction:• Animals must all be walking in the same direction before any attempt is made to change the direction of movement.• When good movement is initiated, the handler can control the direction of movement by moving to the left to make the cattle turn right and visa versa.
To continuemovement in thedesired direction,the handlercontinues to zig-zag back and forthbehind theanimals.
Summary• Triggering the animals natural bunching behaviour gets the herd together so that they can be moved.• After the herd is bunched, the handler must use the principle of pressure and release to keep the herd moving in a controlled manner.• When the herd starts to move in the desired direction, the handler should retreat and reduce pressure.• When the herd slows down, pressure must be reapplied. To keep the herd moving in a controlled manner the handler continues to alternatively apply and release pressure.
Instinct becomes learned• When these methods are first used they work because they trigger the animals hard wired behaviour patterns that it uses to avoid predators. At first, a slight anxiety is produced, but if the handler is always calm, he/she can teach the cattle that they do not have to be anxious. At this point learning will take over and the handler will no longer have to rely solely on the animals natural instincts.• When cattle are moved on pasture, they can be taught that pressure on their collective flight zone will be relieved when they go where the handler wants them to go. A calm quiet handler can also teach his or her herd that they will never be pressured to the point of being frightened.
Take home message• Every time you handle your cows you are training them.• You can train them to be wild and stressed OR• you can train them to be calm and quiet.• Start them young - train your calves so they can be handled many different ways, such as on foot or with vehicles such as four wheelers. “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated” Mahatma Gandhi